Today’s News: Closing arguments in Bell; Saluting Jerry Buss; Criminal probe at Parks Department

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Bell corruption. Closing arguments are scheduled to continue today in the trial of six former officials from Bell accused of fleecing the city by giving themselves exorbitant salaries. Prosecutor Edward Miller told the jury yesterday that the six defendants, including former Mayor Oscar Hernandez, were more interested in their lining pockets than serving their constituents the small working-class town in eastern L.A. County. Lawyers for the defense say their clients worked diligently and were misled by former City Manager Robert Rizzo. L.A. Times

Buss salutes. The Lakers pulled out an emotional win over the Boston Celtics last night at Staples Center after paying tribute to team owner Jerry Buss. Buss, who was 80, died this week of kidney failure. A two-minute video shown on the arena’s video board featured pictures of Buss from his childhood throughout the more than 30 years he owned the team. More than half-a-dozen current and former Lakers stars are expected to speak at a memorial for Buss today at Nokia Theatre. The event is by invite only, but it will be televised. ESPN

Mortgage relief. A new report says California will receive a larger share of a settlement with the nation’s major mortgage lenders – meaning more help for troubled homeowners. The state is expected to get at least $20.6 billion. That’s about $2 billion more than projected when the settlement was announced a year ago. The settlement will aid about 175,000 borrowers in California. AP

Parks mess. The California Attorney General’s office is looking into possible criminal behavior in an embarrassing accounting scandal at the state Parks Department. The disclosure last year that parks officials secretly stashed away more than $20 million prompted the resignation of the department’s chief, Ruth Coleman. The existence of an ongoing criminal probe was revealed during a legislative hearing on state parks. Some lawmakers contend that even if none of the money was used improperly, hiding from the governor and the legislature is still a crime. L.A. Times

Luster hearing. A notorious Southern California rapist says members of his legal team urged him to flee the country instead of facing trial on rape charges. Andrew Luster, the great grandson of cosmetics pioneer Max Factor, is seeking a new trial and reduction of his 124-year prison sentence. Luster was convicted in absentia for a series of videotaped rapes of unconscious women. He fled in 2003 when he was out on bail. He was eventually captured in Mexico by bounty hunter and reality TV star Duane “Dog” Chapman. Ventura County Star