Opening statements begin in Bell, Calif., trial


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles County prosecutor has outlined allegations of corruption and theft by six former officials of the city of Bell which he says were designed to enrich them at public expense.

In Thursday's opening statement to a jury, prosecutor Edward Miller alleged a pattern of scams in which the defendants appointed each other to commissions that did nothing, held meetings that sometimes lasted only two minutes, and often met yearly just to increase their salaries.

The former mayor, vice mayor and four City Council members are charged with misappropriation of public funds.

The prosecutor says the schemes cost the city $1.3 million.

Former city manager Robert Rizzo, who allegedly profited more than anyone, will be tried separately with his assistant.

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