UPDATE, FEB. 25, 1:31 P.M.: Huntington Beach resident and ex-Bell city administrator Robert Rizzo was released from Good Samaritan Hospital late Thursday and is expected back at his public-corruption trial in Los Angeles Monday morning.
Rizzo was wheeled out of LA County Superior Court with chest pains Wednesday.
His attorney, James Spertus, declined to share with the Los Angeles Times any further information about Rizzo's medical condition.
UPDATE, FEB. 23, 3:09 P.M.: During a break in his public-corruption trial in Los Angeles, Huntington Beach resident and ex-Bell city administrator Robert Rizzo was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital with chest pains.
Rizzo's attorney James Spertus denied his client had collapsed.
Bell resident attending today's court hearing reports Rizzo was wheeled
by paramedics out of the courthouse with a towel over his face.
UPDATE, FEB. 22, 3:52 P.M.: Huntington Beach resident and ex-Bell city administrator Robert Rizzo
will not dispute many facts presented in his corruption case, arguing
that the city charter granted him such broad powers he may not have
violated the law.
Rizzo's attorney James Spertus disclosed the stunning legal strategy in Los Angeles County Superior Court today.
He added his client feels “regret” over the way things ultimately played out.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 22, 3:13 P.M.: Huntington Beach resident and ex-Bell city administrator Robert Rizzo failed in his effort to get the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge overseeing his corruption trial to step down.
“As far as I'm concerned, the first [preliminary hearing] never happened. We're starting from scratch,” Judge Henry J. Hall
said today as he denied a defense motion for a new “impartial” judge in
the corruption and misappropriation of public funds case.
Today's hearing was for the second of three batches of Bell officials, including Rizzo, appearing before Hall.
Jabba the Corrupt's attorney had pointed to Hall's comments last week when six current and former Bell city officials were ordered to stand trial as proof of the judge's supposed impartiality. Hall had called the allegations against the defendants “appalling.”
“I'm very concerned about getting a fresh assessment from this court,” attorney James Spertus had said. “It's very important that we get a fair, fresh and impartial look at the evidence.”
Hall told the defense to disregard everything he said last week.
Rizzo made around $800,000 per year as tiny Bell's top administrator, or $1.5 million when benefits were factored in. Prosecutors in LA allege he tried to hide his take and that of other officials and council members from the public.