Baca minimizes his crimes in court

It was a “chess game” between two law enforcement agencies.

That’s how feckless Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca described the FBI’s actions when they bypassed protocols set in place by high-ranking members of his department to enter Men’s Central Jail back in 2011, to interview an inmate about excessive force.

But despite that remark, Baca remained calm after he learned of the interview, recalled Gregory Thompson, a former sheriff’s lieutenant who testified before a federal jury Tuesday during Baca’s trial.

Baca has been charged with a trio of counts all connected to obstructing a federal investigation into jail corruption.

Federal prosecutors will show that Baca worked closely with his then undersheriff, Paul Tanaka, to obstruct an FBI investigation into excessive use of force by deputies on inmates inside Men’s Central Jail.

The corrupt Tanaka is serving five years in federal prison in connection with obstruction charges. Thompson, who was also convicted, has been sentenced to three years in federal prison. He has yet to start serving his sentence and had to be compelled to testify by prosecutors Tuesday.

Read the whole story in the Press-Telegram

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