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Former Sheriff's Captain Who Testified Against Lee Baca Sentenced To 9 Months In Prison

Twin Towers Correctional Facilities. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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William "Tom" Carey, a former captain with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department who admitted to obstructing an FBI investigation into county jails, was sentenced Monday to nine months in prison on charges of obstruction of justice and lying on the witness stand.

Carey had faced a possible maximum of five years in prison for the charges, but prosecutors had recommended a more lenient sentence after Carey had agreed to testify against former top sheriff Lee Baca in May. Carey, who said that Baca was "absolutely" aware of the obstruction efforts, was deemed a key witness in the prosecution's case against the ex-sheriff. A previous trial in December had ended in a deadlocked jury, with the jurors saying that there wasn't enough evidence to connect Baca with the charges. Carey, then, was brought in during the May trial as prosecutors aimed to draw a stronger connection between Baca and the allegations. Baca was later found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison.

Carey's sentencing is part of a long saga involving accusations that members of the L.A. County Sheriff's department had sought to obstruct an FBI investigation into the alleged abuse that was taking place in the county's jail system. Baca was said to have ordered deputies to visit an investigator at her own home and intimidate her. In another alleged scheme, one of the FBI's inmate-turned-informers was being hid by deputies after his cover was blown—according to prosecutors his name was changed in the department's computer system, and he was being moved to different jails to prevent him from contacting the FBI.

According to the L.A. Times, Carey was one of the deputies who was tasked with investigating the FBI agents who were conducting the undercover operation. He was also involved with the effort to hide the informant. Carey and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka were charged in May 2015 with both obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. In August 2015, Carey pleaded guilty for making false statements while taking the stand at the trial of former Deputy James Sexton—who, himself, was being investigated for impeding the same federal investigation, reports City News Service. Sexton would later be sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

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As part of this month's sentencing, Carey was fined $3,000 and ordered to complete one year of supervised release after he gets out of prison.

Nine other deputies and officials have either pleaded guilty or been convicted for their involvement in the obstruction of justice schemes.

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