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Bell's Rizzo faces 58 years in prison if convicted

September 22, 2010 |  3:15 pm



Prosecutors said Thursday that former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo faces up to 58 years in prison if convicted.

Rizzo and seven other current and former Bell officials have been charged with dozens of felonies in a sweeping public corruption case filed by the L.A. County district attorney's office.

On Thursday, a judge reduced Rizzo's bail from $3.2 million to $2 million. Rizzo's attorney said the high bail was unfair because Rizzo was not a flight risk and did not commit a violent crime.

But the judge said the accusations against Rizzo warranted high bail. "The charged offenses are, in my opinion, extremely serious," said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor.

James W. Spertus, Rizzo's attorney, said that his client has been in a jail medical facility and that he has been unable to review the array of felony charges with Rizzo. The former city manager is charged with 53 counts of misappropriation of public funds, falsification of documents and conflict of interest.

Spertus said that the charges came as no surprise and that Cooley,  who is running for California attorney general, was politically motivated in filing them.

"The allegations are mistaken," Spertus said. "They are factually untrue in many readily provable ways."

-- Richard Winton and Jack Leonard

Photos: Arrests in Bell