Local News

Bell Juror Asks to be Excused, Judge Denies Request

A juror in the Bell corruption trial asked to be excused from the panel because she was having problems with at least one of her colleagues.

Judge Kathleen Kennedy, though, turned down the request Monday and told the woman — identified only as Juror No. 3 — that discussions can get heated but that it was important to continue deliberating.

The woman, who was in tears when Kennedy questioned her, said that she was having problems with at least one of the other jurors, according to defense attorney Stanley L. Friedman.

But jurors deliberating in the trial of six former Bell council members did ask the judge Tuesday for sections of the California constitution and the state government code having to do with the pay of council members and the role of a city charter.

Kennedy turned down their request, instead sending them a note saying the panel already had been provided the applicable law.

Council members Luis Artiga, Victor Bello, George Cole, Teresa Jacobo, Oscar Hernandez and George Mirabal are accused of misappropriating public funds by being paid for work on city boards that seldom met and did little work.

Their pay for the boards boosted their salaries to as high as $100,000 a year. After a four-week trial, jurors began deliberations late Friday morning.

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