DA: DragonCon founder faking ailments to avoid trial

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — A Gwinnett County judge ordered DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer held without bond until his trial after she ruled he had violated his initial bond restrictions by visiting movie sets in other states.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter went even further and accused Kramer of faking the physical ailments that have him wheelchair-bound in order to avoid trial.

Kramer appeared in court Friday morning seated in a wheelchair and connected to an oxygen unit. The batteries for that unit were not fully charged and the machine beeped all through the hearing Friday.

Police arrested Kramer in 2000 and charged him with sexually abusing three boys. But because of his physical ailments, Kramer has never gone to trial.

A judge decided to allow Kramer to decide when he's fit enough to do that. Since then, Kramer had been out on bond which limited his movements to Georgia along with New York and New Jersey to seek medical treatments.

But Porter presented two witnesses who testified to seeing Kramer visit their movie locations in Connecticut and Kentucky.

Kramer was arrested in Connecticut two years ago, prompting his extradition back to Georgia. Those charges were later dropped.

The witnesses also testified to seeing Kramer walk without the need of a wheelchair, often times carrying a small steady-cam rig for his own video and still-photography camera. Neither said they saw him with an oxygen unit.

Halfway through the hearing, Kramer asked to be excused because he said the undercharged oxygen unit made him feel unwell.

"This has been a mess, and it shouldn't have been," said Kramer referring to his undercharged batteries. "It should've been done correctly from the beginning. I'm requesting to go back to the medical unit, and it is not my choice."

The judge allowed him to leave, but ordered the hearing to continue.

Porter argued that Kramer had been faking his ailments the entire time to avoid trial.

"Mr. Kramer has consistently misled the court, misled his own lawyers and misled the state regarding his physical conditions," Porter said. "I believe the evidence is clear today that he turns it on and off."

Kramer's attorney denied that claim.

"He's not faking it," said attorney McNeill Stokes. "He's had a serious condition and he's been examined by a number of doctors, and he's not faking it at all."

Both sides will have a hearing in a few months to decide if Kramer is fit enough to stand trial, and if so, to set a trial date.