Convictions tossed for 4 LA-area city officials

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California appeals court has thrown out the convictions of four officials from the small city of Irwindale who were found guilty of spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on baseball games and Broadway shows in New York.

The court said in a decision Thursday that the four officials spent "shocking" amounts of city money and abused the public trust. But the court said Los Angeles County prosecutors withheld two key documents that left a grand jury prejudiced against the defendants.

Five embezzlement counts apiece were thrown out for Councilman Mark Breceda, Finance Director Abe De Dios, retired City Manager Steve Blancarte and former Councilwoman Rosemary Ramirez.

Prosecutors said that between 2001 and 2005, the four attended Yankees games and Broadway musicals with money from the city of about 1,400 people.

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