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Former pension board members ordered to stand trial

A San Diego judge ordered six former pension board members today to stand trial on conflict-of-interest charges. The six participated in a vote in 2002 that helped create a nearly $2 billion deficit in the city's retirement system which in turn has caused a cut in city services and layoffs. KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma has more.

The six former retirement trustees are accused of conflict of interest for voting in 2002 to allow the city to underfund the pension system while receiving a boost in their own benefits.

Prosecutors say there was a quid pro quo. The defendants' lawyers deny any corruption. Judge Frederic Link said there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed. Once the case goes to trial, local attorney Gary Gibson says it will be a tough one for the prosecution to explain to a jury.

Gibson: "You've got to explain how a pension fund works. You have to explain how a benefit package works. You have to explain how those things interrelate. You have to explain the things they were allowed to do and what they weren't allowed to do on this occasion."

Three of the former trustees who have been ordered to stand trial in the state case were indicted last week by a federal grand jury. Amita Sharma, KPBS News.

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