Jury Selection To Begin In Retrial For Ex-Sheriff Lee Baca

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Jury selection will begin Wednesday in the second trial for former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said that about 250 potential panelists would be summoned to the new downtown federal courthouse to begin the selection process, which could last for the remainder of the week.

Jurors will remain anonymous due to the attention that the trial is expected to draw.

During the retrial, Baca will face a third felony count of lying to federal officials. The charge partly stems from a 2011 incident in which two sheriff’s investigators confronted an FBI agent involved in the jail probe in the driveway leading into her apartment, and falsely told her they were in the process of obtaining a warrant for her arrest.

The case against the former sheriff focuses on a period of time when deputies based at the Men’s Central Jail stumbled upon a secret FBI probe of alleged civil rights abuses and unjustified beatings of inmates within jail walls.

Prosecutors allege that Baca ignored years of complaints about excessive force used illegally against jail inmates in county facilities managed by the Sheriff’s Department.

The 74-year-old was tried in December on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Jurors deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquitting the former sheriff.

Anderson then declared a mistral.

Baca maintains he had no knowledge of what was being done in his name by staff members.

His lawyers contend that he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and suffered some cognitive impairment as much as six years ago.

Undersheriff Paul Tanaka is serving a five-year prison term for his conviction of obstruction of justice charges similar to those Baca faces.

Eight other former deputies were convicted and are serving time in the case.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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