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Bell corruption trial: Second witness takes the stand

January 31, 2013 |  9:56 am

Bell's former director of administrative services -- one of the former employees raking in a high salary -- will take the stand Thursday in the trial of six former council members accused in the corruption trial.

Lourdes Garcia earned $422,000 a year, among the highest salaries in the country for her position. Like City Clerk Rebecca Valdez, who spent three days on the witness stand, Garcia will be testifying under a grant of partial immunity.

She is the second witness to be called in the trial.

FULL TRIAL COVERAGE: Corruption in Bell

Valdez, a key prosecution witness in the case, testified that signatures on city contracts, minutes for council meetings, agendas and even resolutions were forged.

Valdez said she noticed the forgeries in 2010 when pulling together records requested by investigators looking into possible wrongdoing. She said she never looked into the forgeries, and didn't make a list of the questionable documents.

"It looks like R Valdez, but that's not the way I sign," Valdez said of the name written in cursive. She said the forgery appeared to be the work of her predecessor, Theresa Diaz.

"That appears to be her handwriting?" defense attorney Alex Kessel asked Valdez.

"Yes."

"So from your knowledge of her penmanship you believe she signed your name?"

"Yes."

The prosecution has used many documents with Valdez's signed name to illustrate Luis Artiga, Victor Bello, George Cole, Oscar Hernandez, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal did little work when it came to the authorities that beefed up their paychecks.

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--Corina Knoll and Ruben Vives

 

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