LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A driver who worked for former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca took the stand Monday as the first prosecution witness in the ex-lawman’s federal corruption retrial.
Baca is accused of conspiring to commit, and committing, obstruction of justice from August to September 2011 and lying to the federal government in April 2013.
Prosecutors contend he lied to the FBI about his knowledge of department efforts to subvert the probe into corruption and inmate abuse in the jail system.
According to Baca’s attorney, former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka was largely to blame for the department’s actions to subvert the FBI probe.
The 74-year-old was tried in December on obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice counts, but jurors deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquitting the former sheriff.
U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson then declared a mistrial.
During the retrial, the former sheriff is also facing a third felony count of lying to federal officials.
The charges partly stem 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 retrial is expected to take about two weeks.
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