By LINDA DEUTSCH | Associated Press – Fri, Feb 22, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The unschooled and illiterate former mayor of the scandal-ridden suburban city of Bell had no training that would have alerted him that his huge salary was illegal, his lawyer told a jury in closing arguments.
Former Mayor Oscar Hernandez didn’t have a college or high school degree and didn’t even finish elementary school, defense attorney Stanley Friedman said at the corruption trial.
Hernandez is among six former Bell city officials charged with misappropriating funds. He was earning just under $100,000 a year for the part-time job.
The case was expected to go to the jury Friday after prosecutors conclude their rebuttals to defense lawyers’ closing arguments. The six former officials face sentences ranging from 11 to 20 years in prison, if convicted.
Friedman argued Thursday that financial advisers hired by the city could have informed Hernandez that salaries being paid to council members were illegal, but no one did that.
“They didn’t say, ‘Stop in the name of the law. These salaries are illegal,'” he said.