And, finally, someone other than the prosecutors and me told Carona to stop blaming his wrongdoing on co-conspirators Haidl and George Jaramillo. “Neither Mr. Haidl nor Mr. Jaramillo was elected to be the chief law-enforcement officer in this county,” Guilford said before noting that he believes there are two Mike Caronas: one who is sweet and likeable on the surface, and the other, the private one, a liar and cheat. (I’d only add coward to the list.) To drive his frustration home, Guilford ordered him to pay the maximum allowable fine, $125,000, in addition to going to prison.

It had been easy for Carona to dismiss such analysis when it came from the Weekly, but this time, it came from a well-respected, thoughtful federal judge—and fellow OC Republican, to boot! Carona’s reaction to the tongue-lashing? Except for licking his lips twice, he sat still and expressionless.

Had the experience awoken at least a faint ping of remorse? Would he cry again—this time in shame? Would the man who gets to remain free until July 24 offer apologies?

Is that a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence, or are you just happy to see me?
Beth Stirnaman
Is that a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence, or are you just happy to see me?
Justice Department spokesman Thom Mrozek, standing in front of Carona prosecutors Brett Sagel (L) and Ken Julian (R), called the punishment "just."
Christopher Victorio
Justice Department spokesman Thom Mrozek, standing in front of Carona prosecutors Brett Sagel (L) and Ken Julian (R), called the punishment "just."

Take a look at the photograph that accompanies this column. It’s Carona exiting the federal courthouse shortly after he had been sentenced to prison.

He’s smiling.

He’s joking.

He’s pathologically without remorse.

rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com

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