FILE - This March 9, 2011 file image shows former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo listens in court in Los Angeles. Rizzo, who masterminded a corruption scheme that paid exorbitant salaries to city officials, pleaded no contest, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, to all 69 charges brought against him. (AP Photo/Irfan Khan, Pool, file) (The Associated Press)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2010 file photo, Former Bell, Calif., city manager Robert Rizzo, is escorted from court by bodyguards after an arraignment on corruption charges, in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County district attorney says the former city manager of suburban Bell, Calif., has pleaded no contest to all 69 counts in a massive public corruption case and will be sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison. District Attorney Jackie Lacey says Robert Rizzo entered the plea Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 and it was not a negotiated settlement. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File) (The Associated Press)
LOS ANGELES – An attorney in the Bell, Calif., municipal corruption case has complained bitterly in court about a judge's decision to allow the chief defendant to plead no contest in an unannounced hearing.
Attorney Harland Braun told Judge Kathleen Kennedy on Friday that she improperly injected herself into the case by brokering a plea deal with former city manager Robert Rizzo.
The judge said there were no negotiations before Rizzo walked into court and entered his plea to all 69 counts on Thursday. Rizzo was charged with stealing more than $5 million from the blue-collar Los Angeles suburb.
Braun represents Rizzo's former top assistant, Angela Spaccia, whose trial begins with jury selection next week.
The judge refused to recuse herself from the case.