Judge clears Bell councilman's release from jail

Bell City Councilman George Mirabal is facing charges of misappropriating public funds.
Bell City Councilman George Mirabal is facing charges of misappropriating public funds.

A Los Angeles judge today ruled Bell City Councilman George Mirabal was clear to be released from jail.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Hilleri G. Merritt ruled that the collateral being posted for Mirabal's $260,000 bail was sufficient.

"Well, today was a good day. My client is going to be released from custody,'' defense attorney Alex Kessel said outside court.

Merritt agreed to allow a house belonging to Mirabal's girlfriend and promissory notes from her, along with his son and son-in-law, to be used as collateral for the bond as long as the councilman surrendered his passport to the District Attorney's Office.

"I do think it's enough,'' the judge said.

Deputy District Attorney Edward Miller objected to the plan.

"We're asking that this property not be accepted as collateral for the bond because it's insufficient,'' the prosecutor told the judge.

Mirabal, 60, has been jailed since his Sept. 21 arrest.

Also still jailed is former Bell City Councilman Victor Bello, 51, who is being held in lieu of $190,000 bail.

The other six current and former Bell city officials have already been freed on bail.

Mirabal and Bello are charged, along with former City Manager Robert Rizzo, 56; former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, 52; Mayor Oscar Hernandez, 63; City Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo, 52, and former councilmen Luis Artiga, 49, and George Cole, 60.

All eight are charged with misappropriation of public funds. Rizzo is also charged with falsification of public records by an official custodian and conflict of interest.

They are due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse on Dec. 8, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial.