Ex-LA County Sheriff Lee Baca's corruption case goes to trial

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Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will go to trial after withdrawing his guilty plea on a federal corruption charge.

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca withdrew his guilty plea to a federal corruption charge on Monday and will go to trial in September.

At a hearing on July 18, Judge Percy Anderson rejected a plea deal with a maximum six-month sentence, calling it "too lenient" and stating that it did "not fairly measure this defendant's culpability."

In February, Baca agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of lying to the FBI about his knowledge of the scheme that became unofficially known as "Operation Pandora's Box."

Specifically, Baca admitted to lying to FBI agents and federal prosecutors in an April 2013 interview, where Baca falsely stated that he did not know LASD officials were going to approach and FBI agent and threaten her with arrest.

Baca, who led the Sheriff's Department for 15 years, recently disclosed that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Prosecutors stated that Baca's illness factored into their earlier decision to not seek more than six months in prison.

Nine other former LASD officials have either been convicted or pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme, including Baca's former second-in-command Paul Tanaka, who was sentenced to five years in federal prison last month.
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