Bell's former police chief has testified he was joking when he wrote an email about taking all of the City's money - that's become a key piece of evidence in the case against former assistant city manager Angela Spaccia.  

Randy Adams has taken the witness stand for the defense to try and help Spaccia convince jurors she was not responsible for the salary scandal and is innocent of 13 felony charges.

Emails between Adams and Spaccia have been used by prosecutors to try and show Spaccia knew she was breaking the law when she allegedly negotiated Adams' employment contract in 2009.

Adams told jurors Wednesday he arranged his $457,000 salary with former city manager Robert Rizzo -- not Spaccia -- and Adams said he never expected 'a little city like Bell' to be able to afford to pay him.

"Unfortunately at the end (of the email) in a joking manner I put in the statement - I'm looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell's money."

"It's been totally taken out of context and made to look like it was part of some evil plan," he said.

It's the first time Adams has testified under oath about what went on inside Bell city hall.

Earlier, Adams said he was concerned with delaying his planned retirement from chief of the Glendale Police Department to take the job in Bell, and said he asked a law enforcement contact inside the Los Angeles County District Attorneys Office to check on whether anything untoward was going on there.

Adams' contact reported back - the D.A. did not know of any type of corruption in the City of Bell or in the City Council, and said there was an experienced city manager with a good reputation working there (Rizzo).

"Did the D.A.'s response satisfy you," asked Spaccia's defense attorney Harland Braun?

"Well it certain helped," Adams said.

On cross examination Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman focused on why Adams had lingering doubts about the Bell offer - questioning Adams about why he sought the advice of another attorney before accepting the job.

Huntsman also suggested Adams might have a personal motive for trying to help Spaccia, noting through questioning the two have known each other for 35-years and have worked together in several different cities.

Jurors were shown a photo of Spaccia wearing a bathrobe and smoking a cigar, and Huntsman pointed out it was a picture Spaccia had sent to Adams.

-- Eric Leonard at Criminal Courts