LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca withdrew his guilty plea on Monday to a charge of lying to investigators in a corruption probe that clouded the final years of his tenure as the chief custodian of the country's largest county jail system.

Baca, 74, opted to face trial on the felony charge of making a false statement, an offense that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, after a federal judge rejected a plea deal with prosecutors that called for a six-month term.

(Reporting by Phoenix Tso in Los Angeles; Writing by Steve Gorman)