A U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has refused Sheriff Michael S. Carona’s demand to dismiss a First Amendment complaint filed by former Carona challenger, ex-sheriff’s Lt. William Hunt, according to a press release issued this morning by Silver, Hadden, Silver, Wexler & Levine.
Hunt attorney Richard A. Levine says it’s possible now that Carona will be “held accountable for abuse of office and for interfering with the constitutionally protected free speech of Mr. Hunt.”
Hours after the 2006 campaign for sheriff, Carona (pictured in his chick-magnet outfit) suspended and demoted Hunt for criticizing him during the battle. Hunt, who served as the popular police chief of San Clemente, claims that he’s the victim of “unlawful political retaliation” and that the sheriff “created an intolerable and discriminatory" working environment that prompted his resignation.
According to the lawsuit, Hunt seeks back pay and “injunctive relief to restore himself to his rightful position as Lieutenant in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and restoration to his assignment as Police Services Chief for the City of San Clemente.”
Carona—an egomaniac with dubious ethics who has guided the sheriff's department into continual corruption scandals involving sex, power and money—believes that Hunt should have remained silent about the messes during the election. It's taken years, but locals are increasingly learning the truth about the sheriff. Evidence? Though the powerful incumbent, Carona was forced to spend more than a million dollars and still escaped a run-off election by just .09 percent of the vote.
Here's a glimpse of what the sheriff didn't want Hunt to tell voters:
-Carona partied with and accepted campaign contributions from Las Vegas titty bar owner Rick Rizzolo, the subject of an FBI mob investigation and a current federal inmate for racketeering.
-Carona appointed Don Haidl (father of gang rapist Greg Haidl) an assistant sheriff despite the used car salesman’s, uh, colorful background, which includes three state corruption investigations.
-George Jaramillo, Carona’s longtime best friend who was appointed No. 2 at the OCSD for six years, is now in jail for public corruption.
-In 1999, Carona pal Jack Hanshaw—owner of an Orange County liquor-store chain—and a secret, major Carona donor for years—was fined $200,000 for attempting to bribe a federal court official.
-In 2000, the Las Vegas police vice squad arrested a member of Carona’s handpicked dignitary-protection unit (actually the sheriff’s spy outfit) for soliciting a street whore.
-In 2005, another Carona pal, a Las Vegas restaurant owner, was forced to return his official badge and gun, not because of his Mafia associations, but because the media discovered he’d angrily tried to use his badge to illegally park in Newport Beach.
-Defense lawyer Joseph G. Cavallo, Carona’s drinking pal and defense lawyer in the Haidl rape case, faces criminal charges for somehow having the influence to operate an illegal inmate kickback scheme inside Carona’s OC Jail.
-California’s generous attorney general agreed to drop 16 charges against Carona Captain Christine Murray if she performed community-service chores for illegally pressuring public employees to deposit money in Carona’s campaign account.
-A member of Carona’s secretive dignitary-protection unit committed suicide after he was approached by state police investigators for dirt on OCSD shenanigans. Before he put the gun to his head, the last webpage he visited was my story detailing Carona’s pictured association with Rizzolo, the Las Vegas titty-bar owner and now-convicted felon with impressive Italian-American mob ties, according to multiple law-enforcement sources.
-The LA County Sheriff's Department revealed that Bo Stefan Eriksson, a mobster who crashed a $1.2 million Ferrari on PCH in Malibu, had a relationship with businessman Roger A. Davis, a Carona-appointed reserve deputy.
-Charles Gabbard—a convicted murderer, robber, thief and Carona breakfast partner—narrowly avoided charges for depositing $40,000 in illegal campaign contributions in Carona’s campaign account after getting our sheriff to write an official letter endorsing a Gabbard invention.