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Judge won't put former Bell police chief on the stand

January 10, 2012 |  5:44 pm

He sat in the back of the courtroom, dressed in a dark blue suit with a dour expression. But that was the closest former Bell police Chief Randy Adams came to the witness stand Tuesday.

Adams, who was  paid $457,000 as the head cop in the scandal-plagued city, was not charged when eight other former Bell officials – from the mayor to the city administrator – were arrested on suspicion of public corruption for allegedly looting the city treasury.

Residents in the city, which was left on the edge of bankruptcy after former City Administrator Robert Rizzo, his assistant Angela Spaccia and six former council members were arrested, have asked why the ex-police chief wasn’t among those charged.

Even the judge hearing the case, Kathleen Kennedy, asked during one routine hearing, “I don’t know why he is not a defendant in this case,” referring to Adams.

But on Tuesday, as both Rizzo and Spaccia attempted to persuade Kennedy to toss out some of the criminal charges they face, an effort to force Adams to take the stand failed.

Harland Braun, Spaccia’s attorney, had subpoenaed Adams to testify as part of his motion to disqualify the district attorney from prosecuting his client and the other former employees.

In a lawsuit he filed to force Bell to pay his legal fees, Adams said that as he was negotiating with the city, he contacted the district attorney's office "to inquire as to the propriety of the city's offer" and was "encouraged" to accept it.

Spaccia says Adams told her that Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley advised him to take the job, and that he "knew of no problems in Bell.”

 Braun said he wanted to ask Adams who he had talked with in the district attorney’s office. Putting Adams on the stand could have created the spectacle of a former police chief taking the 5th, which is what Adams' attorney said he probably would do. But the spectacle never played out, as Kennedy denied Braun’s motion.


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Photo: Robert Rizzo and Angela Spaccia in court Tuesday. Credit: Mark Boster /L.A. Times