Random Reader Comment: Moxley has now taken down a congressman, a state assemblyman, a sheriff, an assistant sheriff and a well-connected Republican child molester. Who am I forgetting? Oh, yeah. There was also the corrupt Newport Beach AIDS doctor. WOW! (Impressed, Sept. 9)

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OC Great Park Audit Shows Additional Signs of Public Corruption
On Aug. 20, the Weekly obtained a copy of an audit report for one area of the Orange County Great Park, the fallback scheme to block construction of an international airport at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Sure, there’s double billing by contractors, no backup for certain claimed expenses, shoddy recordkeeping, highly questionable spending for entertainment and travel, eye-winking approval of poor subcontractor behavior, and a document system designed to hide government documents. You’d expect no less from Larry Agran, the veteran Irvine politician and Orange County’s most acclaimed and nationally recognized liberal elected official who prides himself on backroom deals with questionable characters (some of whom are convicted felons), gleefully thwarts mandatory public disclosure of his behind-the-scenes actions, and operates with a pettiness and ego that would drop Dick Nixon’s jaw in envy. The countless lapses detailed in the audit are predictable given the ethics of the politician (and onetime Democratic presidential candidate) who appointed himself to run the largest public-works project in Orange County history. (RSM)

Random Reader Comment: What does it take for the DA to start an investigation? Seriously? (LP, Oct. 7)

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Orly Taitz vs. Obama the Usurper
Dr. Orly Taitz, Esq., the Laguna Niguel dentist, lawyer and real-estate agent attempting to sue Barack Obama out of office, appeared Sept. 8 before Judge David O. Carter in Santa Ana’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse. The occasion: a hearing in her lawsuit, Barnett v. Obama. Midway through the hour-and-change hearing, it became clear that in Taitz’s mind, it was going to be a day straight out of a Dean Koontz-Dan Brown mash-up novel. It didn’t quite turn out that way. The more Taitz tried (unsuccessfully) to open the somber courtroom up to theatrics, the more Carter indicated he would have none of it. As the matter dragged on, Taitz created a procedural quagmire with her tactics, separated from some of her clients (including at least one who alleged she tried to get him to lie to the court) and tried to get Magistrate Judge Arthur Nakazato removed for bias. Carter eventually dismissed the case for lack of merit. (SK)

Random Reader Comment: Birthers are off the crazy train, and because of the nature of their insanity, there’s probably no way they’re ever going to admit they’re wrong or acknowledge any contradictory information, ever, under any circumstances. To them, Obama is illegitimate, and they will clutch to any notion that supports that. (Anon, Oct. 1)

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George Jaramillo: Mr. Big Mouth
He once dreamed of becoming California’s first Latino governor. He finagled an improbable transition from Garden Grove police sergeant to the powerful No. 2 post at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. He even managed to create a fan club within the George W. Bush White House. But on Sept. 15, ex-Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo discovered there are consequences to unbridled ambition: a 27-month federal-prison sentence and the forfeiture of at least $233,000. “I am here to say that I am profoundly sorry for what I have done,” a weepy Jaramillo told U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford before punishment was announced in the bribery case against him. But if Jaramillo, who considers himself an expert strategist, thought his mea culpa would seal a sweetheart deal that would keep him out of prison in exchange for home confinement, he was terribly misguided. Indeed, the hearing wowed those in attendance (including six reporters) by how quickly Jaramillo and his legal team, headed by Brent Romney, seemed to argue themselves out of the relatively good graces of federal prosecutor Brett Sagel. The Jaramillo strategy combined two parts arrogance and one part contrition, a doomed recipe to anyone awake. Guilford, who seemed perplexed that the defense chose to focus attention on attacking federal officials instead of displaying genuine remorse, said, “I need to see contriteness. And there was almost none.” He ordered Jaramillo to report to the U.S. Marshal’s office in Santa Ana or to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Oct. 30. (RSM)

Random Reader Comment: The Republicans in the OC should model themselves after Judge Guilford, who is a true “tough on crime” jurist. Both Carona and Jaramillo found out the hard way about what happens when a Republican who is not beholden to the political process handles problems. (CHS, Sept. 16)

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Hippie-Era Hash Smuggler-Turned-Fugitive Buddhist Monk-Turned Arrestee
Despite hopes that the district attorney’s office would have come to its senses and drop the charges, the bizarre case of The People v. Brenice Lee Smith continued to crawl forward Oct. 16. In a hearing before Judge Thomas M. Goethals, Smith pleaded not guilty to the 40-year-old indictment that brought down the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a Laguna Beach-based group of hippie hash smugglers who befriended Timothy Leary, sought to turn on the entire world through its Orange Sunshine acid and were eventually tried for criminal conspiracy. After Goethals set Smith’s bail at $1.1 million and the DA’s office indicated the statute of limitations was not a factor in this case, prospects looked dim for the last member of the so-called “Hippie Mafia” to evade the long arm of the law. However, Smith pleaded guilty in November to transporting hashish from Afghanistan to Orange County between 1966 and 1972 in exchange for his freedom, at last closing the book on the longest, most surreal saga in the annals of Orange County criminal justice. (NS)

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