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Judge reduces bail for Bell councilman

February 18, 2011 |  2:14 pm

Victor_bello A judge cut bail nearly in half on Friday for the only Bell official still in custody after his arrest in September.

Former Councilman Victor Bello's bail was reduced from $190,000 to $100,000 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Henry J. Hall, Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. Hall decided to reduce it after expressing concern that Bello's former bail amount was higher than two other ex-council members.

This week, a judge ordered Bello and five other current and former council members to stand trial on charges that they looted the city treasury by accepting high pay for meetings that never occurred or lasted just a few minutes. A preliminary hearing for two other officials, former city administrator Robert Rizzo and his assistant Angela Spaccia, will begin on Tuesday.

Despite the bail reduction, Bello's attorney said he does not believe his client will be able to make bail.

Attorney Leo Moriarty, who is representing Bello pro bono, said Bello should be released on his own recognizance and is not a flight risk.

Moriarty said he plans to file a petition seeking Bello's release if he remains in custody much longer. Bello's jail stay has made it more difficult to defend him due to the limited conditions of jail visits, Moriarty said.


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-- Nate Jackson

Photo: Victor Bello

Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department