The former second-highest ranking official in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and a retired captain are facing a federal grand jury indictment alleging that they orchestrated a scheme to thwart a federal probe of inmate abuse and deputy corruption inside L.A. County jails.
The indictment accuses Paul Tanaka, the former undersheriff and the current mayor of Gardena, and William "Tom" Carey, who served as captain over the department's internal criminal investigations, of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Carey is also accused of lying twice while testifying last year during trials of low-ranking sheriff's officials accused of taking part in the same scheme.
Here are the indictment's allegations at a glance:
-- Tanaka and Carey were "well aware of allegations of rampant abuse of inmates" at Men's Central Jail and the Twin Towers jail in downtown Los Angeles and "allegations of insufficient internal investigations and enforcement of deputy misconduct" by the department.
-- Tanaka was dismissive of misconduct allegations, telling department supervisors that deputies should be allowed to work in the "gray area" and that internal affairs would be better off with one investigator instead of 45.
-- The pair, along with several deputies, conspired to obstruct and impede justice by preventing the FBI from interviewing or reaching an inmate who was working as an informant for federal agents.
-- Tanaka and Carey ordered other deputies to help hide the inmate, Anthony Brown, from the FBI. The scheme included making the inmate's jail records vanish, giving him false names, including "John Rodriguez" and "Chris Johnson," and concealing him at a sheriff's station.
-- Carey coordinated surveillance by sheriff's investigators of FBI special agents who had been working with the inmate and directed his investigators to confront an FBI agent at her home. The investigators told the agent's supervisor that they were going to get an arrest warrant for the agent. Within an hour, Carey reported what the investigators had done to Tanaka.
-- During one of the obstruction trials of other deputies last year, Carey testified there was no other reason for moving Brown other than for his own safety. During another of the trials, Carey denied that the objective of the operation that moved the inmate was to interfere with the FBI probe of jail abuse. The indictment alleges that both of those claims were false.
Tanaka's attorney has denied wrongdoing by his client and said in a statement that the charges are "baseless." Carey could not immediately be reached for comment.
Both men are expected to enter pleas Thursday afternoon in a downtown Los Angeles federal courtroom.
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