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Judge Dismisses Charges Against Former Bell Mayor, Councilman

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A judge on Tuesday dismissed one of two felony cases against a pair of former top-ranking officials in the city of Bell.

KNX 1070's John Brooks reports former Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez and former Bell City Councilman Luis Artiga will still face charges over allegations that they and other officials misappropriated public funds.


The dismissal of charges linked to allegedly illegal loans made to Hernandez have left lawyers for the former Bell council members and top administrators feeling a bit more confident.

"I think it's the beginning of the end for the people's case," said Hernandez attorney Stanley Freedman. "If there was anything illegal about the loan program or illegal about the salaries, they didn't know, and it's certainly not a crime."

Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy rejected a defense motion to dismiss in December when lawyers argued that a state Supreme Court decision involving a Northern California official charged with mishandling public funds could be grounds for dismissal.

Defense lawyers did lose their bid to have Kennedy throw out the excessive salary allegations against both Hernandez and Artiga along with the rest of the so-called "Bell 8".

The next hearing is scheduled for the end of April.

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