Lee Baca

Feds were near defeat in Lee Baca's corruption case. But a 'risky move' in the ex-sheriff's retrial turned the tide

Feds were near defeat in Lee Baca's corruption case. But a 'risky move' in the ex-sheriff's retrial turned the tide

Before his retrial even began, Lee Baca was already losing.

In January, shortly after a jury had nearly acquitted the former Los Angeles County sheriff of charges that he helped obstruct an FBI investigation into abuses in his jails, Assistant U.S. Atty. Brandon Fox tipped his hand in a court filing. At the upcoming retrial, the prosecutor wrote, the government would not call several witnesses from the first trial who had testified that they tried to warn Baca about the inmate beatings and other corruption inside the county jails.

Fox was making a calculated move. Without the appearance of those witnesses, he told the judge, Baca’s defense attorney should be barred from...

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