Final Bell corruption case should be settled, judge says


A Superior Court judge Friday told a Los Angeles prosecutor and the attorneys for five Bell council members facing a second trial on corruption charges that they should settle the case.

In what was expected to be a routine pre-trial conference Friday, Judge Kathleen Kennedy told the attorneys that they needed to make a serious effort to resolve the 2010 case.

The trial of the six former council members ended in March after the jury deliberated for 17 days. The council members were charged with being paid for sitting on city boards that seldom met, if ever, boosting their salaries as high as $100,000 a year for part-time work.


FULL COVERAGE: Corruption in Bell

The panel acquitted Luis Artiga, but found George Cole, Teresa Jacobo, Oscar Hernandez, George Mirabal and Victor Bello guilty on some counts and not guilty on others. The jury also deadlocked on some charges, and the five remaining defendants were expected to be retried on those counts.

The comments from Kennedy come after a flurry of activity in the Bell corruption cases.

Angela Spaccia, the city’s Bell’s former assistant city manager, was convicted Monday of 11 felonies and was taken away in handcuffs. She is awaiting sentencing.

Robert Rizzo, Bell’s former chief administrative officer, pleaded no contest in October to 69 felony corruption counts. He is scheduled for sentencing in March.

Both Rizzo and Spaccia face lengthy prison terms.

Kennedy has presided over all the Bell corruption cases.

On Thursday, in documents filed in federal court, Rizzo agreed to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit tax fraud.

Dep. District Atty. Sean Hassett said that the council convictions already enable the judge to sentence the defendants to jail. But he said he would insist on restitution as part of any settlement.

Stanley L. Friedman, who represents former Mayor Oscar Hernandez, said he wouldn’t agree to a deal that included jail time.

He said that he and Hassett had agreed to meet.

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