Lee Baca

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. (File photo)

By Sarah Favot, Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 09/28/15 – 5:01 PM PDT |

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca will not be immune from prosecution if he is called to testify in the corruption case against his former second-in-command and reveals any criminal activity that occurred in the jails under his watch.

A federal district court judge ruled Monday that Baca won’t be granted immunity in order to testify at the trial of former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, who is accused of 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 county jails in downtown Los Angeles.

Tanaka was charged in May along with former Sheriff’s Department Capt. William “Tom” Carey, who pleaded guilty last month to one count 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.

Seven other deputies were convicted last year of federal charges in relation to the case. Baca has not been charged.

Tanaka’s attorney, H. Dean Steward, said in court documents that Baca should be granted immunity so he can testify at the trial without invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Steward said Baca would provide information that directly contradicts the prosecution’s theory.

Judge Percy Anderson, who denied the request, said it is unclear if Baca would invoke the Fifth Amendment if he is called to the witness stand.

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