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Opening statements set in Bell trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A prosecutor and lawyers for six former Bell city officials are prepared to give opening statements in a massive city corruption trial.

The former mayor and vice mayor and four former city council members are charged with misappropriation of public funds in a plot to line their own pockets at the expense of citizens.

A jury was seated Wednesday after some prospects disclosed strong bias against the defendants. Those who said they were disgusted by reports of the defendants' greed were dismissed.

Prosecutors were expected to outline a pattern of alleged corruption in their opening statements Thursday. Defense attorneys will likely claim the officials worked hard for the benefit of Bell's citizens.

The city was driven to the brink of bankruptcy with some $5.5 million allegedly taken from city coffers.

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