With his criminal trial just weeks away, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was in court Tuesday, battling with prosecutors over whether a key witness can testify about his mental health.
Also during the hearing in a downtown federal courtroom, an attorney for The Times said the newspaper would fight an effort by prosecutors in the case to force a former reporter to testify at the trial.
Lawyers for Baca argued that Dr. James Spar, a psychiatrist at UCLA, should be allowed to take the stand during the trial, which is scheduled to begin on Dec. 6.
Spar specializes in mental illnesses affecting the elderly and would tell jurors that although Baca was not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease until this year, it is likely he was already suffering from the early stages of the degenerative illness in April 2013, when he agreed to be questioned by federal investigators, attorney Nathan Hochman said.
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