Ex-LA County sheriff convicted in prison conspiracy

LOS ANGELES — A federal investigation that targeted violent Los Angeles jail guards took down the longtime former leader of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department.

Lee Baca was convicted Wednesday of obstructing an FBI investigation into guards who savagely beat inmates and took bribes to smuggle contraband into the jails he ran.

The guilty verdicts represented a stunning turnaround for Baca, who less than three months ago walked out of court feeling victorious when his previous trial was declared mistrial. Jurors had been deadlocked 11-1 in favor of his acquittal and it was no certainty the charges against him would even be refiled.

Instead he became the 21st and final person convicted in the wide-ranging corruption investigation that began with rank-and-file deputies and spread to Baca’s inner circle.

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