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Ex-L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca Has Alzheimer's Disease

Lee Baca (Photo by Scott L via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, reports ABC 7.

Baca, 74, is waiting to be sentenced by a federal judge for his involvement in attempts to block FBI agents from investigating corruption and abuse within his department. A plea agreement between Baca's attorney and prosecutors calls for him to serve up to six months in jail, the Daily News reported. Now Baca's lawyers say that he will not be able to receive adequate treatment for his condition in prison, and request that he receive a probation-only sentence.

Starting in 2010, federal agents began investigating claims of excessive force being used in downtown jails. According to the L.A. Times, agents found evidence of assault committed against inmates, including a mentally-ill inmate and a visitor who came to see an imprisoned relative. Investigators also claimed that deputies were bribed into smuggling in contraband.

As the investigation grew, Baca and his department took steps to obstruct the FBI agents, said prosecutors. When it was discovered that an inmate was an undercover agent, Baca allegedly told his men to "do everything but put handcuffs on" the agent. In a separate incident, deputies approached one of the federal agents at her home; Baca told the FBI that he had no knowledge or involvement with the incident, but he later admitted that he'd lied.

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More than a dozen former sheriff's deputies, including former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka and former Captain William "Tom" Carey, have been convicted in relation to the jail assaults and attempts to obstruct the FBI investigation.

While things look dire for Baca, he does get to keep his county pension, which amounts to more than $300,000 a year, the L.A. Times reported.