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Jury reaches verdict in Angela Spaccia's Bell corruption trial

Justice SystemCrime, Law and JusticeCity of Bell Public Corruption Scandal

The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of Angela Spaccia, the former Bell assistant city administrator accused of public corruption.

Court officials said the jury would be read as soon as the defendant and prosecutors were gathered in the courthouse.

Spaccia is being tried on 13 counts of felony corruption, including misappropriation of public funds. Prosecutors contended she and her boss, Robert Rizzo, raided the town’s treasury by giving themselves huge salaries and extraordinary retirement benefits even as the city was starting to run out of money.

Spaccia, though, told jurors that she was a victim of Rizzo’s scheming and that she never asked for the oversize paychecks.

The jury began their deliberations the Friday before Thanksgiving.

Jurors in a previous trial for six former Bell council members deliberated 17 days before reaching a verdict.

Victor Bello, George Cole, Oscar Hernandez, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal were convicted of increasing their salaries to as much as $100,000 a year by serving on city boards that met seldom, if ever. The panel acquitted those defendants on some charges and were unable to reach a verdict on others. Luis Artiga was found not guilty on all counts.

In October, Rizzo, the central figure in the scandal that made the working-class city of Bell a national symbol for government graft, pleaded no contest to 69 felony charges of misappropriating public funds, hiding and falsifying records, perjury and other crimes.

Prosecutors said Rizzo, Bell's former city administrator, would be sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison. His attorney said Rizzo probably would be required to pay between $1 million and $3.2 million in restitution to the city. 

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jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com

Twitter: @GottliebJeff

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