Alleged Swindlers Want Bell to Pay Legal Bills

This combo made with booking photos provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department shows from top left, Luis Artiga, Victor Bello, George Cole, and Oscar Hernandez; from bottom left, Teresa Jacobo, George Mirabal, Robert Rizzo, and Peir'Angela Spaccia. The eight are charged with taking more than $5.5 million from the working-class suburb of Bell, Calif. in a scandal that triggered nationwide outrage and calls for more transparency in government. AP Photo/Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

BELL, Calif. - Three present and former Bell city leaders facing public corruption charges want the cash-strapped city to pay their legal bills.

Attorneys for Mayor Oscar Hernandez, Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo and former Councilman George Cole have filed court documents in recent weeks saying the city should cover their legal expenses in a suit filed last year by the California attorney general's office.

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The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that Jacobo and Cole also want Bell to pay their criminal defense costs on charges filed by Los Angeles County prosecutors.

Rocked by scandals and sky-high salaries, state auditors reported last week that Bell is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Lawyers for the defendants say in documents filed last week that their clients did nothing legally wrong and are entitled to have Bell cover the costs.

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