The former second-in-command of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was convicted on Wednesday of conspiracy and obstruction of justice, stemming from a long-running corruption probe of the largest county jail system in the United States.
Paul Tanaka, who retired as undersheriff in 2013, is among a number of sheriff’s department employees convicted in the federal investigation of inmate abuse, cover ups and other wrongdoing at two Los Angeles County jails.
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca pleaded guilty in February to lying to investigators during the probe, which clouded the final years of his long career with the department.
Baca, 73, faces sentencing later this year as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. He retired in 2014.
Tanaka, who was indicted in May 2015, was convicted by a jury after a two-week trial in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors told jurors the ex-lawman tried to stymie the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. They said he ordered two sergeants to attempt to intimidate an FBI agent, approaching her outside her home and threatening her with arrest, and worked to hide an informant within the jail system.
Tanaka’s defense attorneys argued at trial that it was Baca who orchestrated attempts to undermine the FBI investigation.
“The era of corruption which characterized the upper management in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has ended with the conviction of former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka,” George Hofstetter, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, said in a statement.
“The Department can move forward now that the truth about the failed leadership of disgraced former Sheriff Lee Baca and Undersheriff Paul Tanaka has been revealed through the judicial process,” Hofstetter said.
Tanaka, 57, also serves as mayor of the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena but took leave from that office to fight the federal charges against him. He faces up to 15 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in June.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Chris Reese and Fiona Ortiz)
Brian Williams compares Corey Lewandowski’s opening statement to the North Korean news lady
MSNBC host Brian Williams on Tuesday noted the similarities between former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee.
"Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who is now considering a Senate run in New Hampshire, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today," Williams reported. "It is likely his North Korean anchorwoman-quality opening remarks were meant were one viewer (Donald Trump)."
Ri, who has earned the nickname "Pink Lady," is known for her enthusiastic reading of government-approved news.
Watch the video below from MSNBC.
‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case
Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."
She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.
"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."
WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial
President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortes, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortes which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."
"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortes and I suspect Steve Cortes was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."