ST. LOUIS – Flirting with death gains former St. Louis County planning commission chairman Douglas Morgan no sympathy from U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry.
On Sept. 12, Perry ordered Morgan to appear before her on Sept. 22.
"Unless I have received a medical affidavit from a qualified physician stating that he cannot appear, any failure to appear will be considered a violation of his conditions of release," she wrote.
"Additionally, if he continues to insist that he is too ill to proceed with this case, it may be necessary for me to have his medical condition evaluated in a custodial setting, most likely at a federal medical center run by the Bureau of Prisons," she wrote.
She wrote that records indicate he intentionally makes his conditions worse.
She plans to start trial Oct. 3, on charges that he cheated bankers and stole from investors in a casino that lawyer Brad Lakin of Wood River sought to develop.
Morgan's indictment identifies him as a long time friend of Lakin's father, Law Firm founder Tom Lakin.
It also identifies Morgan as a long time friend of Ricki Lee Jones, whose daughter Julie McDonald would have developed the casino with Brad Lakin.
Tom Lakin serves time on morals charges.
Jones served a stretch for dodging income taxes.
Morgan led St. Louis County's planning commission for 10 years, but County Executive Charlie Dooley didn't renew his appointment last year.
This year, grand jurors indicted him on bank fraud charges.
In June, they added fraud charges from the casino project.
In August, Perry let Morgan leave her jurisdiction and check into Cleveland Clinic.
On Sept. 2, defense lawyer Joseph Hogan asked Perry for guidance.
"Douglas Morgan claims to be unable to stand or sit upright for even small amounts of timewithout suffering physical episodes or passing out," he wrote.
Perry wants proof.
"Although defendant undoubtedly has medical issues, nothing has been presented that would indicate he cannot come to court," she wrote.
"The medical records that have been provided to pretrial services do not indicate that he suffers from any condition that would preclude his appearance," she wrote.
"In fact, those records indicate that defendant's medical providers are concerned that he has a history of intentionally making his medical conditions worse by failing or refusing to take his medications as directed," she wrote.