Case Against Ex-Bell Official Delayed After Lawyer Quits
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A series of legal setbacks will delay court proceedings for a former Bell city council member accused of corruption charges, a judge announced Thursday.
KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports Victor Bello is the only member of the so-called “Bell 8” salary scandal who has spent a significant amount of time behind bars.
In a pretrial hearing at Superior Court, Judge Kathleen Kennedy was forced to call for a delay in the proceedings for Bello to apply for a public defender after losing his lawyer.
“This is a really unfortunate sort of situation, because basically he does not have a lawyer right now,” said Kennedy.
Bello spent five months in jail after he was the only one of the former city officials who could not afford to make bail.
He’s charged along with six other former Bell city leaders with misappropriation of public funds.
Bello had previously wrote to the district attorney about alleged “unethical retirement arrangements” at City Hall, but his warnings were ignored and he was later arrested.
Despite his financial struggles, Bello was warned about a very short timeline to get his legal affairs in order.
“Right now, you don’t have counsel, so you need counsel, but I’m not going to just put this on hold indefinitely,” said Kennedy.
All eight defendants are due back in court at the end of February to learn if the case will proceed to trial.