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Bell Trial: Spaccia's Attorney Tells Jurors 'Let My Client Go' in Closing Argument

Jury deliberations in the trial of the former assistant city manager of the City of Bell will likely begin Friday.

Closing arguments resumed Thursday in the trial of former Bell official Angela Spaccia, who prosecutors accused of bilking public funds in an elaborate scheme concocted by her and then-city manager Robert Rizzo.

"They had worked out a very nice retirement program," said Los Angeles County Dep. Dist. Atty Max Huntsman. "They didn't need to work. But they didn't want to walk away from this cash cow."

In 2010, Spaccia was receiving $564,000 while Rizzo received a benefits package totaling $1.18 million - sums that prosecutors called "insane." But what clinches Spaccia's guilt, according to prosecutors, isn't the size of the bloated salary but lengths she went to hide the figure.
"She wrote her own contracts. She was not a mere typist,'' Huntsman said, explaining that Spaccia developed her pension plan alongside Rizzo.

Spaccia's attorney acknowledged that his client was overpaid but said the salary - larger than President Obama's and Gov. Jerry Brown's - isn't illegal.
"There may have been poor judgment,'' Braun said.
The five-week-long trial in a downtown courtroom ended with seven days of testimony by Spaccia herself. On the witness stand, Spaccia told jurors she didn't believe her conduct broke the law, and that Rizzo handled salary decisions for her and other city officials.
Rizzo pleaded no contest to 69 corruption charges in October. Spaccia faces 13 including misappropriation of public funds and conflict of interest charges.
On Friday morning, the prosecution will present its rebuttal arguments before the jury begins weighing Spaccia's fate.
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