LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Jurors found Bell’s former assistant chief administrative officer guilty of 11 counts of public corruption Monday.
Angela Spaccia sat motionless as the verdict was read. Her mother left the courtroom in tears.
Spaccia was found guilty of conspiracy to misappropriate public funds, conflict of interest as it relates to the handling of her pension plan, two counts of misappropriation of public funds based on the amounts of her salary and the salary of former city administrator Robert Rizzo, and three counts of conflict of interest for the handling of her own employment contracts in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
The 55-year-old mother was also found guilty on one count of secretion of an official record pertaining to a letter regarding former police Chief Randy Adams’ disability and one count of misappropriation of public funds as it pertains to Adams’ salary.
She was also found guilty of two counts of misappropriating public funds pertaining to loans she received in 2009 and 2010 — one for $100,000 and the second for $130,000, respectively.
“It was very difficult because there was a lot of reading; there was a lot of notes to review,” Juror #2 said. “Considering every single note, every single date, every single name, and every single count differently.”
Ultimately, the jury did not accept the defense that former city administrator Robert Rizzo was responsible, not Spaccia.
Spaccia was tried as the sole defendant in the case after Rizzo, who was charged with bilking the tiny Los Angeles County city out of millions of dollars, struck a plea deal with prosecutors in October.
“I’m disappointed, but I think the facts that everyone understands are the amounts of money were so great, and the position of public trust was such that the jury basically held a public official to a very high standard,” Spaccia’s attorney Harlan Braun said.
Several current council members feel the verdicts are vindication for the people who live and work in Bell.
“I hope that other elected officials and city officials are taking note,” Councilman Nestor Valencia said. “Don’t do this. Don’t do it to the city of Bell, don’t do it anywhere.”
Jurors failed to reach a verdict on one count of misappropriation of public funds pertaining to a $77,500 loan she allegedly received in 2003. On that last count, Judge Kathleen Kennedy declared a mistrial.
Rizzo pleaded no contest to 69 corruption charges in October, leaving Spaccia to face the public corruption charges by herself.
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