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Bell mayor says D.A. overcharging him for copies of documents

November 10, 2010 |  5:56 pm

The embattled mayor of Bell has filed motions in court alleging that the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office is overcharging him hundreds of dollars for getting copies of legal documents and prosecution interviews.

Mayor Oscar Hernandez’s lawyer called it “billing on steroids,” borrowing a phrase from Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who described the alleged crimes committed by Hernandez and other current or former Bell city leaders as “corruption on steroids.”

Hernandez, who made nearly $100,000 a year until The Times revealed how much he and other part-time city politicians were earning, is charged with misappropriating millions of dollars in public money, as are virtually all of the current council members.

Stanley L. Friedman, Hernandez’s attorney, filed a motion Tuesday asking that the cost of duplicating CDs and DVDs charged by the prosecutor be lowered.

Friedman said the $712.60 price tag charged to defendants for 26 recorded interviews was unreasonable and more than six times the amount of an earlier case.

“To cop a phrase, this is billing on steroids,” Friedman said.

District attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said that the cost of duplicating materials covers staff labor and that it was not unusual for duplicated recordings to sometimes cost several hundred dollars.

Gibbons said prices were available from sound lab personnel who would not be in the office until Friday. Friedman also asked the court for an evidentiary hearing on the copying costs. A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 8.

-- Corina Knoll