Never lie to the FBI: Ex-LA County sheriff indicted for conspiracy, obstruction of justice

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca © Jason Redmond
A federal grand jury has indicted former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca for conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI, in order to cover up civil rights abuses inside his jails.

Lee Baca is now officially facing a three-count indictment related to an FBI investigation into Los Angeles County jails.

Although Baca tried to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence that carried a maximum of six months, a judge rejected it for being “too lenient.”

If Baca is found guilty of his current charges, he will face 20 years in federal prison. For the 74-year-old in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, that would most certainly amount to a life sentence.

Nathan Hochman, Baca’s attorney, said in a statement to KABC, “These new charges represent punishment by this United States Attorney's office for our client's decision to seek a trial. The United States Attorney's Office has already admitted in court the weakness of its obstruction case against Lee Baca. This trial will be vastly different than the others. We look forward to this process and believe that Mr. Baca will be vindicated after all of the evidence is finally presented.”

Baca will be arraigned at a later date.

He is not the only one being punished for corruption in LA County jails. At least 20 other current or former sheriff’s department employees are facing charges or have been convicted for their involvement in attempts to cover up corruption.