LOS ANGELES—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. Prosecutors claim the city treasury was looted to the tune of $5.5 million and the modest blue collar suburb was driven to the brink of bankruptcy.

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

Two key figures in the case, former city manager Robert Rizzo and former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, are absent from the trial with their own case to come up later.

Those now on trial are former Mayor Oscar Hernandez, former vice mayor Teresa Jacobo and former council members, George Mirabal, George Cole, Victor Bello and Luis Artiga.

They are charged in a 20-count felony complaint accusing them of paying themselves exorbitant salaries and setting up sham commissions with no purpose but to enrich the officials.

Outraged citizens who had seen their taxes and fees go up turned out by the thousands to protest when the scandal broke. They held a successful recall election and threw out the entire city council.