Law Forum : la-sheriff-pleads-guilty-to-lying

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  1. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Ex-LA sheriff pleads guilty to lying during corruption probe

    Former Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca faces sentencing in May for lying during a federal investigation of his department

    Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to federal authorities investigating corruption in the department, a probe that was gaining momentum when he abruptly retired two years ago.

    Baca, a media-savvy lawman who used his platform as head of the nation's largest sheriff's department to travel the world touting progressive policing policies, had largely been out of sight since leaving office a year early in January 2014. He consistently dodged questions about any connection to the corruption even as other former underlings pleaded guilty or were convicted.

    That changed Wednesday with the surprise announcement by federal authorities that the corruption went all the way to the top of the department and that Baca had finally agreed to take the fall.

    Within hours, Baca was in a federal courtroom pleading guilty to a single felony count that could put him behind bars for up to six months. He faces sentencing May 16.

    The 73-year-old answered a judge's questions in a quiet voice. Outside court later, he chose to remain silent as reporters asked questions and his lawyer spoke for him.

    Attorney Michael Zweiback said Baca had a 50-year career in law enforcement, does a lot of good in the community and doesn't deserve prison time.

    In a brief typed statement signed "Lee Baca retired sheriff," he said he had made a mistake and accepted being held accountable.

    "This is not a day of celebration for us," U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker said earlier during a news conference. "It is a sad day when a leader of a law enforcement agency fails to honor his oath and instead of upholding justice chooses to obstruct it."