Nobody in the courtroom seemed happy. Susman beckoned Barnett to a corridor. A heated exchange ensued. Minutes later, as his stone-faced victims watched, Kontos stood and then was handcuffed and hauled away by a deputy.


Jealous that his ex-girlfriend had gone on a South Coast Plaza-area date with another man in 2007, Metin Reza Gurel raped her and threatened to disfigure the woman’s vagina with a stove-heated screwdriver. Gurel’s defense? They had consensual kinky foreplay and sex. A jury didn’t buy it. After Gurel’s 2008 conviction, District Attorney Tony Rackauckas learned that Suzy M. Snyder, the deputy DA on the case, had secretly slept with the police detective who headed the probe, a huge ethical no-no.

Peter Kontos
Peter Kontos

I revealed the scandal last year (see “The Rapist, the Judge, the Lawyer and Her Lover,” Oct. 30, 2008); soon thereafter, Snyder found herself out of the DA’s office. Subsequently, an incarcerated Gurel attempted to get his convictions overturned, claiming he’d been robbed of a fair trial. But Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals determined that, based on the strength of the victim’s testimony alone, Gurel would likely have been convicted even if Gurel’s lawyers could have discredited the detective as biased. Goethal left the convictions intact.


Need more evidence of ex-Sheriff Mike Carona’s shamelessness? The convicted felon recently tried a cute legal maneuver to nullify a jury’s guilty verdict for sabotaging a federal grand jury investigating corruption at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Through his Jones Day lawyers, Carona told federal Judge Andrew Guilford that the jury found him guilty of a statute that prohibits convincing a witness not to testify.

Carona’s angle? He didn’t try to block the testimony of Don Haidl, a wealthy businessman who says he gave Carona $1,000 per month in cash bribes. He pointed to secret FBI recordings of his efforts to convince Haidl to testify and lie to the grand jury.

Guilford was not amused.

Carona’s sentencing date remains April 27. Federal officials recommend a 6.5-year prison term. Carona, once OC’s most popular Republican politician with a eye on the U.S. Senate, seeks leniency—not a minute in prison.

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