1980 – ML Leader Enters Innocent Plea

Morningland Leader Enters Innocent Plea

April 10, 1980 San Diego Union

San Diego Union Staff Dispatches

VISTA – A Los Angeles attorney and a leader of the Morningland religious group pleaded innocent yesterday to a charge of misusing the group’s money for private purposes.

Attorney Edward L. Masry and religious leader Sri Patricia won a postponement until May 22 on entering pleas to four bribery charges involving former Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally. Masry and Sri Patricia have been indicted by a San Diego ground jury.

Appearing before Superior Court Judge Charles W. Froelich, Masry and Sri Patricia pleaded innocent to a charge of using $10,000 in Morningland money to finance a trip to Hong Kong to retrieve children of a Morningland minister.

Morningland, based in Long Beach, maintained a center in Escondido until 1978.

Masry claims the bribery charges are the result of a vendetta against him by Attorney General George Deukmejian and Deputy Attorney General John Gordnier. Masry claims Deukmejian and Gordnier are “out to get me” for having filed several lawsuits against the state attorney general’s office.

The bribery indictments charge that Masry solicited a $10,000 bribe from Morningland to be paid Dymally in exchange for urging the Legislature to investigate government harassment of Morningland. Masry represented both Morningland and Dymally.