Times investigation: Baca ordered criminal probe outside jurisdiction on behalf of political donor
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca directed detectives to launch a criminal investigation outside his agency's jurisdiction on behalf of a well-connected supporter who has given the sheriff political contributions and expensive gifts, a Times investigation has found.
The sheriff's investigation targeted a tenant who was embroiled in a rental dispute with Ezat Delijani, a longtime Baca political donor. The sheriff assigned his detectives to the case after Beverly Hills police had concluded that Delijani's allegations did not amount to a crime.
In an interview, Baca downplayed his personal involvement in opening the probe last year. He said the Beverly Hills business magnate received no preferential treatment.
Sheriff's Department records, however, show that Baca sent a handwritten note to his then-chief of detectives requesting the investigation. Additionally, records reveal that detectives referred to the case as a "Sheriff Baca Special Request" and gave it a "rush" status, generally reserved for high-priority or time-sensitive cases, including homicides.
-- Robert Faturechi
Photo: Beverly Hills business magnate Ezat Delijani, left, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca attend a ceremony formally dedicating the corner of 7th Street and Broadway as Ezat Delijani Square.