LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A pretrial hearing for six former officials of the city of Bell accused of corruption was held Monday.
KNX 1070′s John Brooks reports former Mayor Oscar Hernandez and former City Council members Teresa Jacobo, George Mirabal, Luis Artiga, George Cole and Victor Bello are charged with misappropriation of public funds.
Jury selection is expected to begin Tuesday in the trial, which centers on whether the defendants – who along with former city manager Robert Rizzo and top assistant Angela Spaccia make up the so-called “Bell 8″ – were grossly overpaid using taxpayer funds.
Attorney Ronald Kay, who represents Cole, said his client was unaware that the pay system arranged by Rizzo might be illegal.
“He was making a $65,000-$70,000 salary for a person that was working full-time and was putting his life blood into the community,” Kay said.
The trial of Hernandez, Jacobo, Mirabal, Artiga, Cole and Bello is expected to last approximately 7 weeks.
Prosecutors allege Rizzo – who along with Spaccia will be tried separately – withheld information about his $1.5 million salary and allegedly falsified documents.