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Defense: Bell, Calif., officials worked tirelessly

February 20. 2013 3:29AM
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(AP) A half dozen former officials of a scandal-ridden California city have heard a prosecutor paint them as thieves. But their lawyers say they were tireless workers for the good of the city of Bell.

Defense attorneys said Thursday that their clients are being wrongly blamed for the misdeeds of a city manager who ripped off the city treasury.

A lawyer for former mayor Oscar Hernandez said he was illiterate in English and was tricked by City Manager Robert Rizzo into signing documents including those that gave city council members huge salaries.

Lawyers also blamed the city attorney for failing to tell the officials their salaries might be illegal.

A prosecutor said they knew what they were doing when they allegedly bilked their small town treasury of more than $1.3 million.

All six are charged with misappropriation of public funds.

Associated Press

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