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Judge declares mistrial in remaining Bell, California, corruption charges

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Five former Bell City Council members, shown in court on Wednesday, were found guilty of stealing public money by paying themselves extraordinary salaries in one of Los Angeles County's poorest cities. On Thursday, a mistrial was declared on the remaining counts.

A mistrial was declared Thursday afternoon on the remaining charges against five former Bell elected officials.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy had asked jurors to decide whether further deliberations would help break a deadlock on the remaining charges.

The judge noted, however, that based on a flurry of testy communications from the panel, "It seems to me that all hell has broken loose in the jury deliberation room."

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The defendants had been convicted of counts related to the city’s Solid Waste and Recycling Authority, but acquitted on counts related to the Public Housing Authority.

The jury had deadlocked on 42 charges related to pay for service on two additional boards.

On Wednesday, the jury had reached the following conclusions:

  • Ex-mayor Oscar Hernandez: guilty on five counts; not guilty on five counts. No verdict on 10 counts.
  • Former Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo: guilty on five counts; not guilty on five counts. No verdict on 10 counts.
  • Former Councilman George Mirabal: guilty on five counts; not guilty on five counts. No verdict on 10 counts.
  • Former Councilman Victor Bello: guilty on four counts; not guilty on four counts. No verdict on eight counts.
  • Former Councilman George Cole: guilty of two counts; not guilty on two counts. No verdict on four counts.

Former Councilman Luis Artiga was acquitted on all charges.

Related: Multiple guilty verdicts in Bell, Calif., corruption trial