Theft charges dismissed for ex-manager of Marvel’s Stan Lee

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge on Tuesday declared a mistrial and dismissed grand theft charges against former Marvel Comics mastermind business executive Stan Lee.

Superior Court Judge George Lomeli dismissed charges against Keya Morgan, accused of robbing Lee, when a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquittal after two days of deliberations and a 2 and a half week trial.

Lomeli said he was stepping in to clear Morgan of three counts of grand theft from an elder “in the interests of justice,” according to Variety.

“My client and I spent four years proving his innocence and today we won,” Morgan’s attorney, Alex Kessel, said in an email to The Associated Press.

Prosecutors had alleged Morgan, 41, stole more than $220,000 from three Lee memorabilia signatures about six months before Lee’s death in 2018. Morgan was arrested the following year. Initial charges of elder abuse and false imprisonment against Morgan were dropped well before trial.

The prosecution argued during the trial that Morgan attacked Lee when Lee was in mental decline during the last months of his life and acted without authority on his behalf.

Kessel argued that the missing money actually went to Lee’s daughter and heir, JC Lee, who was a witness at the trial.

The proceedings were largely overshadowed by the concurrent trials of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and actor Danny Masterson, which were taking place simultaneously with Morgan in the same hallway of a downtown LA courthouse.

An after-hours email sent to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Lee, the creative dynamo who co-created characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk for Marvel and made beloved cameos in films that featured his designs, died in November 2018 at the age of 95.

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Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

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