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Former Bell police chief will testify, breaking years of silence

Jobs and WorkplaceCity of Bell Public Corruption ScandalCalifornia Public Employees' Retirement System

Bell's former police chief -- once among the highest-paid law enforcement officials in the nation -- agreed Tuesday to testify in an ongoing corruption case against one of his former bosses.

The testimony would break years of silence by Randy Adams, who was forced from his job when the town was engulfed in a salary scandal in 2010. Though he was named in a civil case alleging massive corruption in the small city, he was never criminally charged.

On Tuesday, Adams walked into court, dressed in a dark blue suit, his jaw jutting and took a seat in the front row.

FULL COVERAGE: Corruption in Bell

When Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy asked what he was going to do, Adams said, "I will testify," surprising everyone in the courtroom.

Adams is set to testify for the defense in the felony corruption case against Angela Spaccia, the city's former second in command and one of eight former city leaders originally charged in the corruption case.

Outside court, Adams said he always wanted to testify but his attorneys had told him not to.

"At this point in time, I don't have an attorney telling me not to," he said.

Adams defended his year-old stint as Bell police chief.

"I went to the city of Bell and honorably served them as their chief," he said. "My concern is to set forth the facts honestly and correctly," he said.

Adams, 62, said he is retired and now taking care of his elderly parents.

When called to the witness stand last year in a hearing over the size of his pension, Adams invoked his 5th Amendment right to not incriminate himself 20 times.

Adams' salary as the police chief in Bell made him one of the highest paid law enforcement officials in the nation, providing him a salary higher than either the Los Angeles police chief or the New York City police commissioner.

The 2012 hearing was called to hear Adams' challenge of the California Public Employees' Retirement System's decision not to include his one year as Bell chief when computing his pension.

He was asked if he was Bell's former police chief.

"Yes," he replied.

Did he send an email to a Bell city official saying, "I am looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell's money?!"

"On the advice of counsel I am going to exercise my right to remain silent," he replied.

Over a span of 14 minutes, the man who had been a lawman for nearly 40 years, a police chief in three cities, exercised his constitutional right against self-incrimination over and over, refusing to answer most questions.

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jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com

 

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