Jury selection in corruption trial of former LA County Sheriff Lee Baca begins

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Jury selection was set to begin in the federal corruption trial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on Monday.

But that jury will be only part of his first trial after a federal judge ruled on Friday that his case would be split into two separate trials.

The jury selection for Monday will involve charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges from 2011.

MORE: Former sheriff Baca's defense team dealt setbacks in corruption trial

Baca is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, but the judge ruled his mental state was not relevant to those two charges.

In 2010, the FBI launched an investigation into civil rights abuses and corruption inside Los Angeles County jails. In February, Baca had agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of lying to the FBI about his knowledge that sheriff's officials approached and threatened to arrest an FBI agent in 2013.

Baca ended up withdrawing his guilty plea when a judge rejected a plea deal with a maximum six-month sentence. The judge called it "too lenient" and said that it did "not fairly measure this defendant's culpability."

MORE: Lee Baca indicted for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, lying to FBI

If convicted on all three counts he faces, the 74-year-old could face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.

As a result of the FBI's investigation, 20 current or former members of the sheriff's department have been convicted on federal charges for helping to cover up corruption in the jails.
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