Four days after he withdrew from a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was indicted Friday on federal charges of conspiring to obstruct justice, obstructing justice and lying to the federal government.
The indictment followed Baca's decision this week to withdraw his guilty plea to lying to federal authorities and face trial on charges he tried to thwart an FBI investigation of civil rights abuses at the jails he ran. Baca, 74, said Monday that he wanted to set the record straight and go to trial before his Alzheimer's disease worsens.
His decision was forced by a federal judge who rejected a plea deal as too lenient because it only called for up to six months behind bars.
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If convicted of all charges, Baca could face up to 20 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The investigation into corruption and civil rights abuses at the county jail has led to the convictions of 20 current and former members of the sheriff's department.