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Bell corruption trial: Questioning of prospective jurors to begin

January 22, 2013 |  7:04 am

From Bell City Council members watch a preliminary hearing in February 2011. From left:  Luis Artiga, George Cole, Teresa Jacobo, Oscar Hernandez and George Mirabal. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Attorneys in the case of six former Bell City Council members accused of corruption are to begin questioning prospective jurors Tuesday.

Last week, about 150 potential jurors filled out questionnaires. As a result of their answers, some members of the jury pool could be dismissed.

The defense and prosecution each have 40 peremptory challenges that allow them to dismiss potential jurors without giving a reason. Other jurors can be dismissed if attorneys can convince the judge that they cannot be objective.

On trial are George Cole, George Mirabal, Oscar Hernandez, Luis Artiga, Victor Bello and Teresa Jacobo. They are charged with being paid for meetings of city boards that met seldom, if ever.

Pay from these boards boosted their salaries to nearly $100,000 a year for part-time jobs.

Opening arguments in the case are expected later this week.

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-- Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: Former Bell City Council members watch a preliminary hearing in February 2011. From left:  Luis Artiga, George Cole, Teresa Jacobo, Oscar Hernandez and George Mirabal. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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