Ex-LA County Sheriff Lee Baca denied bail pending appeal

Eric Leonard photo-FILE-undated-Lee Baca

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca lost a bid Wednesday to remain out of jail while appealing his federal conviction for trying to derail an FBI investigation into jail abuses.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to overturn a lower court ruling that rejected extending bail for Baca while he appeals his March conviction.

Baca's lawyers failed to properly address the issue of whether the appeal was intended to delay the case, the appellate court said.

The court did note that Baca, who's 75 years old and has Alzheimer's disease, isn't considered a risk to the community.

The bail request motion was denied without prejudice, meaning it can be resubmitted to the lower court.

"We intend to provide the district court with ample and compelling evidence to prove this point as expeditiously as possible," Baca's attorney, Nathan Hochman, said in an email.

Baca, who served 15 years as sheriff and nearly half a century in the department, abruptly resigned in 2014 under a cloud. In May, he was sentenced to three years in federal prison for conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.

Prosecutors said that Baca and others conspired to hide an inmate acting as an FBI informant from his handler by changing his name in computers, moving him among different jail facilities and threatening to arrest the handler.

Baca contended he wasn't aware of the conspiracy, which was dubbed Operation Pandora's Box.

He was the most prominent defendant in a case that expanded from a civil rights investigation of beatings by guards in the nation's largest jail system into a broader corruption scandal that led to the top of the department. In addition to Baca and his top lieutenant, 19 others were convicted of crimes ranging from assaults to obstructing justice.

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