- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has pleaded not guilty to obstructing a federal probe of jail abuse.

The 74-year-old Baca entered pleas Friday to obstructing justice, conspiracy and lying to the federal government.

He could face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.

His attorney tells City News Service he believes Baca will be vindicated.

Baca was indicted last week. He withdrew an earlier guilty plea after a judge rejected a plea deal that carried no more than a six-month jail term, calling it too lenient.

Baca, who has Alzheimer’s disease, ran the nation’s largest sheriff’s department for 16 years.

He’s charged with trying to sidetrack an FBI investigation into alleged brutality at the Men’s Central Jail. Twenty sheriff’s employees were convicted in the probe.

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