Trial of Rizzo’s Assistant Underway

The jury has been picked in the trial of Robert Rizzo’s assistant, Angela Spacccia, and testimony should begin today.

Rizzo, the notorious former City Manager of Bell, recently pleaded no contest to 69 corruption counts, and has agreed to testify against his former assistant.

Part of Spaccia’s defense may be that she relied on  advice from Bell’s lawyers in approving the various lucrative salary arrangements for various city employees, including herself and Rizzo.  This could get interesting — because the city has signaled that it will not waive attorney-client privilege for these communications.  That leaves judge Kathleen Kennedy with some tough choices.  She could order the city’s attorneys to testify, thus compelling them to violate  the privilege.  If the attorneys refuse, they could be subject to contempt proceedings.

On the other hand, if the jury is simply told that the attorneys are not permitted to testify about the advice they gave Spaccia, then the jury might acquit Spaccia on that basis.  Prosecutor Max Huntsman is worried about this scenario, and suggested that the Court hear testimony from the attorneys first to determine whether it was privileged or not.

The judge is considering that approach, and has stated that Spaccia’s right to due process may outweigh the privilege.

Leave a Reply

Post Navigation