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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Six former Bell city officials pleaded not guilty Friday morning to misappropriating public funds by accepting lofty salaries for serving on boards and commissions that seldom met.

Mayor Oscar Hernandez and City Council members Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal are charged along with former council members Luis Artiga, George Cole and Victor Bello.

The six defendants, all free on bail, are due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse on May 3 for a pretrial hearing.

Bell’s former city administrator, Robert Rizzo, and ex-assistant city administrator Angela Spaccia, were ordered March 10 to stand trial in a separate case accusing them of misappropriating public funds, and are due back in court for arraignment next Thursday.

On Wednesday, Rizzo was ordered to stand trial on a conflict-of-interest charge involving a racehorse venture with Bell’s privately contracted planning director.

Rizzo and other top city officials stepped down last July after the scandal over their hefty salaries made headlines.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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