In the wake of a controversial pardon for convicted ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, will President Trump also pardon disgraced ex-Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca?
Baca’s attorney refused to comment this week when asked if there’s any possibility of a presidential pardon for his client.
Baca is fighting to stay out of custody while he appeals his conviction for conspiring to derail an FBI probe into corruption in the jail system.
“I can’t comment one way or the other,’” Baca’s attorney Nathan Hochman told City News Service.
Hochman was asked if Baca or anyone on his legal team had approached the White House about a possible pardon, or if there had been any contact with presidential officials.
“I understand the question,” Hochman said, but he declined to respond further.
Baca, 75, was sentenced to three years in prison in May for his conviction on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and making false statements.
In a nine-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson found in July that Baca had “failed to raise a substantial question likely to result in reversal or new trial.”
Hochman said he plans to present evidence to show that a reversal is warranted based on judicial error and Baca should remain free while those issues are explored.
After Trump publicly speculated about a pardon for Arpaio, the president announced Aug. 25 that he had granted the pardon.
Arpaio is the former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona. He was found guilty in federal court of criminal contempt. He ignored an order to stop his deputies from detaining people just because the law enforcement officers thought individuals looked like illegal immigrants.
Trump said Arpaio has “done a great job for the people of Arizona, he’s very strong on borders, very strong on illegal immigration, he is loved in Arizona.
“I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly when they came down with their big decision to go get him.”
Without any comment from Baca’s attorney, it’s difficult to know what Trump thinks of Baca.
During Baca’s two trials, prosecutors described the ex-lawman as being the top figure in the multi-part conspiracy, which also involved his former right-hand man, Paul Tanaka, and eight deputies who took orders from the sheriff.