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Bell corruption trial: Juror excused for vertigo

January 29, 2013 | 10:17 am

Bell council members
The judge in the corruption trial of six former Bell council members excused a juror after receiving a note from her doctor Tuesday.

The woman, known as juror No. 4, said she was suffering from vertigo. Judge Kathleen Kennedy said the bailiff told her Friday that the woman, who appears to be in her 70s, could barely walk.

After placing five numbered ping pong balls in a Dodgers cap, Kennedy pulled out the ball for alternate No. 6, who moved onto the panel.

FULL COVERAGE: Bell corruption trial

One alternate already had been dismissed after he told the judge his employer only paid for 10 days of jury time. The trial is expected to last another six weeks or so. Monday, an alternate called in sick with the flu, and the judge postponed the trial for a day. She returned to court Tuesday.

“I sure am glad I didn’t excuse the alternate yesterday,” Kennedy said.

Four alternates remain.   

Kennedy said she was nervous about the dwindling number of jurors and cautioned them to stay healthy. “No bungee jumping, no jumping out of airplanes,” she joked.

The trial resumed with testimony from Rebecca Valdez, Bell’s city clerk.

The council members, Luis Artiga, George Cole, Victor Bello, Teresa Jacobo, Oscar Hernandez and George Mirabal, are accused of inflating their salaries by being paid for sitting on city boards that met seldom, if ever. They were paid about $100,000 a year for their part-time jobs.


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-- Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: Former Bell council members appear at their corruption trial in Los Angeles last week. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times