Massive corruption case going to trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The first trial in a massive corruption case that nearly bankrupted the Los Angeles suburb of Bell begins this week as six former officials of the scandal-ridden city get their day in court.

The former mayor and vice mayor and four former City Council members are charged with misappropriation of public funds in a 20-count felony complaint.

Prosecutors claim they looted the city's treasury in order to pay themselves exorbitant salaries. The complaint says sham commissions were created to enrich the defendants.

Two major figures in the scam are not part of the trial which starts tomorrow. Former City Manager Robert Rizzo and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia are scheduled to be tried separately. They have been accused of making millions while hiking taxes and fees for residents in the modest, blue-collar suburb where many live in poverty.

The trial is scheduled to last seven weeks.

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%@AP Links

038-c-18-(Linda Deutsch (doych), AP special correspondent)-"charged with crimes"-AP special correspondent Linda Deutsch reports the former mayor, vice mayor and four former City Council members are charged with misappropriation of public funds in a 20-count felony complaint. (14 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *038 (01/14/13)>> 00:18 "charged with crimes"

037-c-14-(Linda Deutsch (doych), AP special correspondent)-"for the residents"-AP special correspondent Linda Deutsch reports after disclosure of the scandal, Bell residents revolted and staged a successful recall election of those accused of stealing the city funds. (14 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *037 (01/14/13)>> 00:14 "for the residents"

036-c-15-(Linda Deutsch (doych), AP special correspondent)-"didn't really earn"-AP special correspondent Linda Deutsch reports six former officials of the city of Bell, California, are going on trial this week on corruption charges. (14 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *036 (01/14/13)>> 00:15 "didn't really earn"

039-c-14-(Linda Deutsch (doych), AP special correspondent)-"money for them"-AP special correspondent Linda Deutsch reports defense attorneys will work to show the council members earned their salaries but the prosecution has a much different story. (14 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *039 (01/14/13)>> 00:14 "money for them"

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