Bell corruption: Judge rules not to delay state attorney general’s lawsuit

Andrew Blankstein (Los Angeles Times)
December 13, 2010

A Los Angeles County Superior judge denied a request Monday by the state to delay its lawsuit against current and former Bell officials because it could interfere with L.A. County’s criminal cases against the troubled city’s current and former leaders.

Judge Ralph Dau rebuffed efforts by lawyers for Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, the L.A. County district attorney and the city of Bell to delay much of the lawsuit until criminal charges against eight current and former city officials is resolved.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jennifer Benz Snyder argued the potential existed for civil discovery to affect the criminal case, which is focused on allegations of misappropriation of public funds.

She said prosecutors are pursuing ongoing investigations, and an employee of the city could disclose that work or reveal potential secret grand jury proceedings under questioning. She said prosecutors do not want to show all their cards.
Dau told Benz Snyder she needed to talk to the attorney general’s office and tell them, “Why don’t you back off and dismiss this case?” The attorney general’s lawyers “have the key in their pocket,” he added.

State lawyers said they would consider appealing the ruling once it is issued in writing.

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