Retired Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty this week to a felony count of making a false statement in the jail abuse scandal that led him to step down in 2014.
In a plea deal filed in court Wednesday, Baca admitted to one lie and agreed not to contest allegations that he told other lies during an interview with federal prosecutors on April 12, 2013.
Audio of the interview, which was obtained by The Times, shows that prosecutors grilled Baca for about four hours about the unfolding scandal, including whether he tried to obstruct an FBI investigation into allegations of corruption and brutality by his sheriff’s deputies.
The U.S. attorney’s office alleges that Baca told three lies:
1. The visit to an FBI agent’s home READ MORE
Weeks after sheriff’s officials learned that the FBI was secretly investigating the jails, two sheriff’s investigators confronted one of the lead FBI agents outside her home. One investigator told the agent, Leah Marx, they were in the process of obtaining a warrant for her arrest.
Baca told prosecutors that he did not know about the Sept. 26, 2011, visit to Marx’s home until the head of the local FBI office, Steve Martinez, called him to ask about the encounter.
In his plea agreement filed this week, Baca admitted that he knew in advance of the plan to approach Marx. Prosecutors alleged in the same document that Baca gave the instruction for sheriff’s investigators to visit the FBI agent and “further stated that [they] should do everything but put handcuffs on” her.