Bell councilman takes stand in 'Bell Eight' trial

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Al Seib/AFP/Getty Images

Former Bell city employees (left to right) Robert Rizzo, Angela Spaccia, Victor Bello and Oscar Hernandez attend a bail reduction hearing on Sept. 22, 2010 in Los Angeles.

The only Bell City Council member not facing charges testified again today in the corruption case against eight current and former city leaders. KPCC’s Corey Moore is at the Criminal Courts Building in downtown L.A. for the third day of the “Bell Eight” preliminary hearing.

Bell Councilman Lorenzo Velez took the witness stand as six of his former and current constituents looked on. They’re facing dozens of felony counts.

A few defense attorneys grilled Velez – one asked if he considered himself a “rubber stamp” for former city administrator Robert Rizzo by approving any legislative matters Rizzo wanted him to. Velez said he often followed Rizzo’s lead because he trusted him.

Velez, who works full-time as a heavy duty equipment operator for Los Angeles, said there were hardly any debates during City Council meetings. He said only several residents would show. When defense attorneys tried to disprove that, Velez said more people attended meetings after news of the scandal broke.

Attorneys began questioning Bell’s city clerk, the second witness.

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