LOS ANGELES (CN) – The man accused of stealing from and abusing the late comic book legend Stan Lee pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday.
Keya Morgan faces charges of false imprisonment of an elder, three felony counts of grand theft and one misdemeanor count of elder abuse.
Prosecutors say Morgan, real name Keyrash Mazhari, inserted himself into Lee’s life and took advantage of Lee’s advanced age, impaired vision and poor memory. Lee claimed Morgan moved him out of his longtime home and isolated him from his family and friends while speaking on his behalf in business dealings.
Prosecutors say Morgan stole more than $262,000 made by Lee during autograph signing sessions in May 2018.
A year ago, the co-creator of Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man, X-Men and many more superheroes filed for a restraining order, accusing Morgan of isolating him from family and friends. A judge ordered Morgan to stay away from Lee and Lee’s family. Lee died this past November in LA at the age of 95.
On Wednesday, Morgan made a brief court appearance where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Morgan’s attorney, Alex Kessel, said his client spent a week in a Maricopa County, Arizona, jail after being arrested on an outstanding warrant before he was brought to a Los Angeles County jail. Kessel said Morgan was driving to Los Angeles to turn himself in to authorities as agreed when he was arrested.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Francis Benett set a bail hearing for Thursday morning due to a lack of available courtrooms.
After the hearing Kessel said, “He thought he would get out today.”
Meanwhile, Morgan filed a defamation lawsuit against two security guards he and Lee had hired. Morgan claims Richard Shepp and Leon Youngblood lied to police when they said Morgan stole money from Lee, forged his signature on memorabilia and abused Lee.
Morgan is represented by Los Angeles-based attorney Antonio Castillo in that case.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.