Ex-LA County Sheriff Leroy Baca diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Leroy Baca was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Eyewitness News has learned.

Baca, 74, will be sentenced by a federal judge on July 11 for his role in a scheme to block an FBI investigation into Los Angeles County jails.

Baca's diagnosis was confirmed in court filings. Eyewitness News spoke to Baca at his home following the revelation.

"I'm feeling great, thank you," Baca said.

But Baca's attorneys argued because of his condition, he would not receive the most beneficial medical care behind bars.

His legal team has argued that instead of spending six months in federal prison, Baca should receive a probation only sentence.

Eyewitness News asked Baca if he should be spared prison time because of his condition.

"Who knows? I can't comment on that," Baca said.

Prosecutors said Baca is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and while he's able to function in his everyday life, his long-term prognosis is bleak.

Baca insisted for years he played a very limited role in an attempt to block an FBI investigation into abuse and corruption inside Los Angeles County jails.

The former sheriff admitted he lied to federal investigators during an interview in 2013.

In the interview, Baca said he had no knowledge that his department had any interest in arresting an FBI agent. He said, "That strikes me as extreme."

That was later determined to be a lie, with Baca admitting he told his sergeants to, "Do everything but put handcuffs on her."

In new court documents, his attorney admitted that Baca had failed his community and his career was over, but he could not right the wrongdoing.

Baca's attorney also included 239 letters attesting to his character and past service. Those letter came from the likes of former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gary Davis, former district attorney Steve Cooley, former city attorney Carmen Trutanich, attorney Robert Shapiro, and even legendary Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda.

"I'm always appreciative of what the community feels in their hearts about me, so that's nice," Baca said in reference to the letters on his behalf.
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