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Bell corruption trial: Spaccia defense testimony ends

Thursday prosecutors will get their chance to cross-examine former Bell city official Angela Spaccia.
November 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Thursday prosecutors will get their chance to cross-examine former Bell city official Angela Spaccia. Spaccia has been on the witness stand this week, testifying in her own defense.

Wednesday's testimony focused on the exorbitant salaries of former city officials.

Accused of helping herself and others to oversized salaries in Bell, Spaccia in court Wednesday called the high numbers "insane," but not illegal. And that it was her boss, Robert Rizzo, who spelled out the terms.

Spaccia testified that city attorneys affirmed that the city council handed Rizzo wide-ranging authority after Bell became a charter city.

Spaccia says she started at Bell as Rizzo's assistant, typing agreements. Then he promoted her to assistant CAO, ultimately raising her salary to more than a half-million dollars per year.

Spaccia testified that her job duties never changed, and that even in the blue-collar city she thought there was plenty in the treasury to pay top bucks.

Wednesday she said she was shocked to learn Parks Dept. employees were being laid off just as she was getting a 20-percent raise.

Of 13 counts against her, several allege crimes in the hiring of police chief Randy Adams.

Wednesday she explained the now-infamous emails, how she responded to Adams's demands, with Rizzo saying that "pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered."

Spaccia testified that she was annoyed with Adams's ongoing requests. She told the jury: "I was jousting. But I was also saying you are being a pig."

Prosecutors allege that Spaccia concealed from the public Adams's $457,000 annual salary.

"We will wait and answer the D.A.'s question," said Harland Braun, Spaccia's attorney.

A major face-off is set: Spaccia will have to answer the prosecutor's questions Thursday for the first time.


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