6 Observations about Ex-Sheriff Mike Carona's corruption trial
1. If it's his decision to make, indicted ex-Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, who is a superbly confident man with rare charisma, will testify in his public corruption trial.
2. Although the FBI and IRS appear to have nailed Debra V. Hoffman, Carona's top mistress, on bankruptcy fraud related charges, the case against her slightly weakened today when federal Judge Andrew Guilford severed her from the trial against Carona, the government's main target.
3. Debbie Carona, the ex-sheriff's wife, is no mental slouch. Without her lawyer present today, she addressed the court and spoke eloquently about her rights and her belief that federal agents are using her as a pawn in pursuit of her husband.
4. The person who launched Judge Guilford's rise to the federal bench jn 2006 deserves a medal. Guilford has a photographic memory, is personable, injects either humor or scorn when appropriate, treats the jury with respect, espouses sane legal philosophy and, most importantly, is fair to both the prosecution and defense.
5. It's more obvious than ever that Carona recklessly abused his high public office with sneaky, dishonest affairs as OC's top cop for nine years.
6. At this point, more than one juror believes that while Carona wasn't squeaky clean, they aren't necessarily rocked about the matters he's been nailed doing: cheating on his wife and accepting free private jet rides, custom-made suits, hotel rooms, casino chips and $1,000-a-month in bribes from Don Haidl, a wealthy Newport Beach businessman who wanted law enforcement influence.
(R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly)