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D.A. Gets OK to Prosecute Bell Gardens Official

April 05, 2002

An appeals court ruled Friday that the Los Angeles County district attorney's office can prosecute Bell Gardens Councilwoman Maria Chacon, reversing a lower court decision that recused the office on grounds of conflict of interest.

The lower court ruled that a conflict existed because the chief of investigations for the district attorney's office, Steve Simonian, once worked for the city of Bell Gardens.

But the appeals court decided that Simonian's participation in the case was not sufficient to warrant the recusal of the entire office. The court ordered Simonian not to participate any further on the case.

Chacon is accused of pressuring Bell Gardens City Council members to appoint her city manager.

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