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Bell corruption case 'unfair, politically motivated' and should be dismissed, defense attorney says

As the preliminary hearing for the six current and former Bell City Council members accused of corruption wound down Wednesday, the attorney for George Cole argued prosecutors had not made a case and all charges should be dropped.

Ronald Kaye told Superior Court Judge Henry J. Hall the case was “unfair, politically motivated and an unjust prosecution, and it should stop now.”

He said that if the $100,000 that Bell leaders earned at the peak of their salaries was too much money, the solution was to vote them out of office, not to put them on trial.

Walking back and forth in the courtroom and leaning on a lectern, Kaye called the alleged wrongdoing in Bell “one of the most publicized municipal scandals in Los Angeles County, albeit in the United States.”

Kaye said all six of the former and current city leaders had become victims of the Bell salary scandal. “All of a sudden they are dragged into the court, dragged into the media as being these pariahs.”

He also dismissed the testimony of one of the prosecutions’ key witnesses, City Clerk Rebecca Valdez, as being “completely vacant.” Valdez and one of the city’s top financial officials, Lourdes Garcia, were granted limited immunity in exchange for their testimony.

Kaye said the defendants could not have been in a conspiracy with Robert Rizzo, Bell’s former chief administrative officer, to loot the city because witnesses testified that Rizzo kept information from them and ordered his staff to report back to him about any interactions with council members.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office accuses the former and current council members of driving up their salaries by drawing pay for their service on boards and commissions that rarely met.

Several defense attorneys said Wednesday they expect Hall to rule by the end of the day whether the defendants should be tried. A preliminary hearing for Rizzo and his assistant, Angela Spaccia, is expected to open Tuesday.


Husband of Bell witness removed from court

Video: 'I'm not a pig,' ex-Bell administrator says

Bell defense attorneys express concern about judge

-- Jeff Gottlieb and Corina Knoll

Comments () | Archives (14)

I say toss the defense attorney in jail right beside them.

"He said that if the $100,000 that Bell leaders earned at the peak of their salaries was too much money, the solution was to vote them out of office, not to put them on trial."

You forgot the "return of that money". Oh, they will be voted out. They deceived their constituents and should stand trial for it. They should have their pensions forfeited and the money returned. You can tell the judge that too. I will give you the credit.

Attorney Ron Kaye said: “All of a sudden they are dragged into the court, dragged into the media as being these pariahs.”

Yeah, and your point is?

wow, what would you expect from an attorney...bottom feeder.

I agree with the defense. I come to expect more comedic or entertainment news from the LA Times writers. I don't want hear about this stuff, I want to know if Lindsay Lohan gets busted again, what Charlie Sheen's dealer has to say and read all those fictional accounts from LA Times writers about the poor, hard working illegals.

You didn't even tell me if Gabrielle Giffords went to the bathroom today.

Although I did find you guys censoring anything insensitive being written about a "fellow journalist" getting raped rather amusing. Sheesh, I'm going back to TMZ for my news.

I like Ronald Kaye's defense. Just another day at the public feeding trough. If you don't like it vote them out.

A lot of State and local government employees are over paid. What's the big deal?

vote them all out!

That is their defense? You should have voted us out. You must be kidding. How about we give them their jobs back, since they are so obviously innocent. Just because no one is minding the store doesn't give anyone the right to rob it. And that is what they did. The stole from the people of Bell, and need to be held fully accountable.

Methinks defense attorney Kaye should spend a few minutes with a dictionary and look up the word "albeit." For the sake of his clients, one hopes he has a better mastery of the law than he does the English language.

Or did the reporter misquote him?

This attorney is absolutely correct in his assessment of what's happened in the Bell situation. This is nothing but a hatchet job done by the Los Angeles Times that has inflamed the situation to the point that these six or seven individuals are now looked at in the same light as Adolf Hitler. They might have been greedy but not any more greedy than Kobe Bryant for asking the Lakers for 30 million dollars in salary per year. How much does a brain surgeon make? How about a teacher? The salaries for elected officials and bureaucrats range from almost nothing to thousands of dollars per year in jurisdictions through out the land. What these people did might be outrageous but it's not illegal. It did help a dying newspaper sell more papers.

It is unfair that Ronald Kaye took advantage of the situation to make more
money than other lawyers !
Big mouth is what Ronald Kaye had ! Make him live in Bell City!
The city council has the responsibility to protect the citizens and kept quiet
to make tons of money, they have to face the consequence when they helped
Rizzo to rip off the Bell residents. I don't know whether he realized
that fact or just closed the eyes and opened the loud mouth to make money.
No wonder this country goes down the hill because of the lawyers.

Give back all the money... and THEN tell me about it, you greedy pigs.

Dismissed? Not a chance. Corruption is no small matter! And they should be prosecuted the full extend of the law. They dupe the whole people of Bell City. They say 'No man is above the Law.' If they were dismissed, there is something wrong with this law.

Didn't these folks lower their own salaries by about $91,000 after it was discovered they were making $100,000? That certainly is telling. They knew that salary was unjustified. They would have kept accepting the salary if they hadn't been found out. I wish every city in American would wake up and realize it is possibly happening in their city too. WAKE UP!

Let's hope there is justice for the hard-working people of Bell who have been plundered by the elected government. The six council members cannot legitimately account for work hours to justify $100,000.00 a year. We all know that this was significant hush money allocated by Robert (the Weasel) Rizzo and his main partners in crime.


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