L.A. Now Live: Discuss the Bell corruption trial, verdicts
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After weeks of deliberations, a Los Angeles County jury convicted five of six Bell officials Wednesday on multiple counts of misappropriating public funds.
It was a mixed bag of guilty and not guilty verdicts for the group, some of whom cried as the verdicts were read. One councilman, Luis Artiga, was acquitted of each charge he faced.
Times staffers Richard Winton and Kimi Yoshino will join L.A. Now Live at 9 a.m. Thursday for a live discussion about the verdicts. Questions can be submitted during the chat.
The jury failed to reach a verdict for several charges, with four jurors telling the judge that if they were given more time and additional information, they might be able to reach a verdict.
The judge ordered the jury to return at 9 a.m. Thursday, but it is unclear whether she will ask them to continue deliberating.
At the end of the day, the jurors sent several questions to the judge that ended the day on a chaotic note and raised questions about whether they were unanimous in their verdicts.
In a note, Juror No. 7 told Judge Kathleen Kennedy that he had misgivings about the deliberations.
The cryptic note said that the juror ‘questioned myself on information that had me on a [doubt] of thing [sic] that were not presented properly.’
Defense attorney Ron Kaye, who represents former Councilman George Cole, told the judge that the juror’s note suggested he might have been persuaded to vote a certain way.
‘Our ultimate goal is to reach the truth,’ Kaye said. ‘Can we separate Juror No. 7, ask him to discuss what he meant and if it was in fact his verdict? These [defendants] deserve to have an honest deliberation. I would ask that we be permitted to inquire.’
But Kennedy said she did not interpret the note from Juror No. 7 that way.
“That’s done, we’re not going to reopen verdicts that have been reached,” Kennedy said.
The focus will soon turn to former City Administrator Robert Rizzo, the face of the Bell corruption scandal that rocked the working-class town in 2010.
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