Paul Tanaka

Paul Tanaka

By Sarah Favot, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 08/19/15 – 8:36 PM PDT |

Accused of corruption, Paul Tanaka, once second in command of the Sheriff’s Department, said charges against him should be dropped, according to federal court documents obtained Wednesday.

Tanaka’s attorneys said in the documents that the former undersheriff was acting under the orders of former Sheriff Lee Baca and within the scope of his job as a peace officer while investigating how a deputy smuggled a cellphone to an inmate who was an FBI informant.

The attorney, H. Dean Steward, argued in the court documents that the obstruction of justice charges should be dismissed. Tanaka’s attorneys also asked that U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson grant Baca immunity so that Baca could testify as Tanaka’s witness during the trial.

In a separate action in the corruption case, Tanaka’s co-defendent, former Sheriff’s Department Capt. William “Tom” Carey, 57, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday afternoon to lying on the stand during the obstruction of justice trial last year of another sheriff’s deputy.

Carey reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that requires him to cooperate with the federal government in Tanaka’s case. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining charges against Carey.

Both Tanaka and Carey, who headed the department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, were charged in May with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice in an attempt to thwart the FBI and U.S. attorney’s investigation into brutality and corruption by deputies in the Men’s Central Jail, where deputies allegedly beat inmates and smuggled contraband in exchange for bribes. Carey was also charged with two counts of lying under oath.

In the indictment, prosecutors said that between August and December 2011 Carey and Tanaka allegedly gave orders and oversaw actions, including attempts to conceal an inmate used as an FBI informant from federal investigators, to prevent the FBI from investigating civil rights violations in the jails.

Specifically, Cary pleaded guilty to lying on the stand during former Deputy James Sexton’s trial when he was asked “Was there any reason to move (FBI informant Anthony Brown) under ICIB control other than for his safety?” Carey answered, “No.”

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