Jury Selected In Corruption Trial Of Former Bell Assistant City Manager
LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — A jury of seven women and five men has been chosen to judge the former assistant city manager of Bell on corruption charges.
Tuesday’s jury selection in the trial of Angela Spaccia took only a few hours, and opening statements were scheduled to begin Wednesday.
KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports Spaccia’s attorney, Harland Braun, told potential jurors they would have to undergo mind-numbing, often boring testimony about the corruption that left the small blue-collar suburb on the brink of bankruptcy.
He also told them that the question is not whether Spaccia is guilty by association, but whether she was actually involved in the scheme.
One man was let go because he admitted he couldn’t be fair. A woman was also dismissed due to religious beliefs.
Spaccia goes to trial as the lone defendant on 13 counts of misappropriation of public funds, conflict of interest and other charges.
Her co-defendant, City Manager Robert Rizzo, pleaded no contest to 69 charges and left her to stand trial on her own.
In 2011, a grand jury indicted Rizzo and Spaccia on allegations that Spaccia drafted employment contracts for herself and Rizzo that gave them both significant pay raises without the City Council’s approval.
The 55-year-old Spaccia was reportedly paid $376,288 a year under Rizzo, who was being paid nearly $800,000 annually before he resigned in July 2010.
Former Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez and former council members Teresa Jacobo, George Mirabal, George Cole and Victor Bello were found guilty in March after jurors convicted the five defendants on some counts of misappropriation of public funds, acquitted them on other misappropriation charges and deadlocked on the remaining misappropriation counts.
Spaccia could face decades of prison time if found guilty.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)