Fate of LASD trial defendants now in the hands of a jury

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The fate of six Los Angeles Sheriff's Department deputies, sergeants and lieutenants is now in the hands of a jury.

The defendants are facing federal charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Two of the defendants are also charged with making false statements to the FBI. Prosecutors say the defendants tried to block a federal investigation into brutality and corruption at Men's Central Jail by hiding an informant, intimidating witnesses and threatening an FBI agent with arrest.

Defense attorneys say their clients were following what they believed to be lawful orders from top brass in the Sheriff's Department, including then-Sheriff Lee Baca and then-Undersheriff Paul Tanaka.

All six defendants, Lt. Greg Thompson, Lt. Steve Leavins, Sgt. Scott Craig, Sgt. Maricela Long, Dep. Gerard Smith and Dep. Mickey Manzo, have pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of between 15 and 20 years in prison, although it's unlikely they'd be sentenced to the maximum.

The trial of a seventh deputy, James Sexton, ended with a hung jury last month. Prosecutors have not announced yet if they will retry Sexton.

Jurors deliberated for about two and a half hours Tuesday before heading home.

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