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Bell corruption trial: jury asks for testimony to be read back

March 7, 2013 |  6:30 am


Jurors in the corruption trial of six former Bell council members ended their deliberations for the day Wednesday but have asked for testimony to be read back to them Thursday morning.

The jury has been deliberating the fate of six former council members for nearly two weeks. All are changed with misappropriation of public funds by drawing enormous salaries for serving on boards that rarely met.

The jurors asked that the testimony of Dist. Atty. Investigator Maria Grimaldo, while being cross-examined by defense attorney Alex Kessel, be read back to them.

The testimony in question concerned the investigator's request for documents establishing the pay for council members and those serving on board.

Former council members George Mirabal, Luis Artiga, Victor Bello, George Cole, Oscar Hernandez and Teresa Jacobo all face prison time if convicted.

They are charged with boosting their salaries to as much as $100,000 a year by being paid for work on city boards that seldom met and did little work.

The Bell jury had been deliberating for nearly five days when Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy dismissed a panel member last week for misconduct after she admitted using the Internet to do research.

Kennedy replaced her with an alternate last Thursday, and told jurors to start deliberations anew.


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-- Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: Former Bell council members in court. Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times.