Bell city manager Rizzo headed back to court

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Irfan Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo listens to proceedings during his preliminary hearing on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo takes a familiar seat Tuesday in a Los Angeles courtroom. An L.A. County Superior Court judge will consider more criminal allegations against Rizzo, days after the court ordered him to stand trial on dozens of fraud charges.

The third and final round of preliminary hearings for disgraced Bell officials will be less crowded than the previous two. Tomorrow, Robert Rizzo faces the judge on his own. Rizzo’s legal team will try to convince that judge to throw out conflict of interest charges.

State authorities say an audit of city finances indicates that Rizzo steered business to certain vendors without city council approval. They accuse Rizzo of directing the city to pay thousands of dollars to companies without formal contracts.

Prosecutors accuse Rizzo and seven other Bell city leaders of masterminding a scam to bilk taxpayers out of more than $5 million.

Last week voters packed the polls and elected new leadership that turned out the entire Bell City Council.

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