SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A federal judge has moved Orange County's $2 billion lawsuit against brokerage Merrill Lynch & Co. to Los Angeles.

The county declared bankruptcy in December 1994 after losing $1.6 billion on investments by a pool of municipal funds. The county accuses Merrill Lynch, its chief broker, of pushing risky investments.

Attorneys for the Wall Street firm had earlier asked for a change of venue to Arizona, claiming they couldn't get a fair trial in Orange County. The firm welcomed the change, ordered Monday by U.S. District Judge Gary L. Taylor.

Taylor also restricted the jury pool, excluding residents from Orange County and a large part of Los Angeles County. The trial is scheduled to begin in September.

``We think this is an appropriate resolution,'' said Merrill Lynch spokesman Bill Halldin.

The change is not likely to affect the outcome of the trial, said J. Michael Hennigan, an attorney representing the county.