Morgan files sealed motion to continue fraud trial

Steve Korris Nov. 3, 2011, 12:39pm


ST. LOUIS – Former St. Louis County planning commission chairman Douglas Morgan seeks to delay his criminal fraud trial, for reasons he doesn't want the public to know.

On Oct. 28, his lawyer, William Goldstein of Clayton, filed and sealed a motion to continue a trial that U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry set for Dec. 5.

Prosecutor Hal Goldsmith filed a reply on Nov. 2, also under seal.

On Nov. 3, Perry set a hearing on the motion for Nov. 9.

Two weeks earlier, she had delayed the trial because Morgan switched lawyers.

Grand jurors indicted him in April, alleging he obtained bank loans by representing that he continued to possess an inheritance.

In June, grand jurors charged that he obtained money from investors by representing that he held secret interest in a casino proposal that would win a license.

The indictments identified him as a long time friend of Tom Lakin, founder of the former Lakin Law Firm in Wood River.

They identified him as a long time friend of Ricki Lee Jones of Wood River, former owner of Triad Industries.

Lakin currently serves time in federal prison on morals charges, and Jones recently served out a sentence for evading income taxes.

Lakin's son, Brad Lakin, and Jones's daughter, Julie McDonald, submitted the casino proposal that Morgan allegedly exploited.

Lakin and McDonald withdrew the application before officials picked a developer.

Morgan's lawyer, Joseph Hogan of Clayton, responded to the indictments by pleading his client was too sick to stand trial.

In August, with Perry's permission, Morgan checked into Cleveland Clinic.

Perry set trial for Oct. 3, but delayed it to Oct. 17, so he could undergo a nerve biopsy.

On Sept. 30, she set a hearing on a possible change of plea for Oct. 13.

Morgan did not appear, and Goldsmith moved to revoke his bond.

Perry ordered Hogan to bring him in.

"No doctor ever stated that defendant cannot appear in court, but defendant continues to claim he must be hospitalized each time he has a court appearance," Perry wrote.

Morgan appeared, five and a half hours late, and Perry vacated the trial date.

Before she could set a new date, Hogan withdrew and Goldstein replaced him.

She approved the switch on Oct. 20, and set trial for Dec. 5.

When Goldstein moved to continue the trial, he sealed the motion without asking Perry for permission to seal it.

Prosecutor Goldsmith asked for permission to seal his reply, and Perry granted it.

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