Mike Carona: No More Excuses

[Moxley Confidential] Federal Appeals Court upholds the ex-sheriff's conviction, and he's finally headed to prison

In the wake of his historic 2007 arrest by FBI and IRS agents, straight-faced Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona suggested he was the victim of a devious political conspiracy—“something like the grassy knoll with Kennedy.”

The ridiculous assertion, long touted by Carona’s faithful, Kool Aid-drinking allies, finally became permanently discredited on Jan. 6, when a 9th Circuit federal appeals panel upheld the righteousness of the disgraced ex-sheriff’s 2009 witness-tampering conviction.

Carona, a Republican—and, at one point, California’s rising GOP star and buddies with Arnold Schwarzenegger—was investigated, convicted and sentenced by Republican law-enforcement agents, two Republican assistant U.S. attorneys and a Republican U.S. District Court judge. The party affiliations of Carona’s three-judge federal appeals-court panel? All Republicans.

Simple translation: The man who led California’s second-largest police agency is finally going to the slammer.

We can hope that Carona, who once openly dreamed of toppling U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, has finally exhausted all the excuses for his remarkable downfall. For as much hatred as Carona has for me and my investigations into his antics prior to his indictment, when he’s sitting in his prison cell, he can only blame himself. He took the cash, the free private-jet trips, the Las Vegas casino chips, the custom-made suits and the boat. He surrounded himself with moral degenerates, even gave them real badges and full police powers. He allowed a con man from the Middle East to film top-secret Homeland Security procedures here. He accepted illegal campaign contributions. He sent the wife of an underling birthday cards that named his penis—and I quote—“The Little Sheriff.” He partied with high-ranking organized-crime associates in a Newport Beach bar. He threatened retaliation against those who criticized him. He told a businessman to pay his top mistress more than $60,000 in hush money. He ordered aircraft to fly endless, low circles over a political rival’s home.

There was more:

He had sex in a car with a government employee while his oblivious wife and son were nearby. He made and lost a $100 bet that someone couldn’t sell a real sheriff’s badge for a $5,000 campaign contribution. He put his uniform jacket on a nearly naked prostitute in his hotel room during a trip to Moscow. He helped skim more than $100,000 from death proceeds that were supposed to go to the wives of fallen deputies. He lied on financial-disclosure forms. He promoted morally unfit deputies to high positions in exchange for personal loyalty. He used the kidnapping, rape and murder of a child as a vehicle to bolster his political career. He tried to sleep with the wife of an incarcerated inmate. He hid or destroyed embarrassing public records. He gave now-thoroughly documented favors to a convicted murderer, to a swindler, to a corporate crook and to the unapologetic rapist of a 16-year-old girl.

Given that partial list of sins, it was fitting that our county’s ex-top cop tried to save himself by employing an appellate argument first crafted by—drum roll, please—East Coast organized-crime bosses. Carona argued that federal prosecutor Brett Sagel had violated the no-contact rule that bars government officials from eliciting incriminating statements from suspects who’ve hired defense lawyers. In his view, Sagel should have gotten permission from Dean Stewart, his lawyer, before ordering a pre-indictment listening device surreptitiously planted at the sheriff’s restaurant table. Mafia bosses love that concept because, if condoned by judges, the mere act of hiring a defense lawyer prior to an arrest would shield them from undercover FBI stings.

The federal appellate judges rejected Carona’s argument as “unavailing.”

There was good reason for Carona to want Sagel’s bug evidence tossed out. It put the lie to his carefully manufactured Christian persona, the one shamelessly sold by most mainstream-news outlets. Not thinking anyone could hear him but his dinner companion, the sheriff was himself: foul-mouthed, cocky, constantly on the prowl for “pussy,” greedy and desperate to cover up his crimes.

At one devastating point recorded on tape, the sheriff said he would never admit to accepting monthly cash bribes unless forced to because a pinhole camera in a ceiling had captured the crime. At another point, he asked if he should worry if someone had photocopied the serial numbers on the $100 bills before they were given to him as bribes. He was told no.

“That part is why I sleep real well at night,” responded Carona, confident at the time he’d outwitted federal agents.

Recall that two years ago this month, Carona left the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana after his conviction and laughed—like he’d just heard the funniest joke of his life, then stopped for an impromptu press conference and, wearing a smirk, praised God for handing him a “miracle.”

What kind of man, let alone a public official, gets convicted of a felony, sees himself unmasked as a scumbag, and then proudly declares he has been absolved of wrongdoing?

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35 comments
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Favian Orozco
Favian Orozco

That guy is fucking twisted, it makes you not want to trust ANYONE in those positions.

Not Mike Carona
Not Mike Carona

Help me get this straight...generic Conservatives enabled this crook until genuine Conservatives put a halt to this?

Instead of making him into a poster child that illustrates crime does pay, his pension should be revoked

Strum
Strum

Do you really think that this is it with the OC Sheriffs Dept? Just one corrupt cop at the top? Come on folks, the corruption runs a lot deeper and continues to increase within this department and most law enforcement agencies. Most cops are more crooked than those they arrest. Most cops tell themselves "you cant break the law if you are the law" and they live by this. Its a joke as anyone that has worked in law enforcement knows first hand there are many criminals wearing a badge many

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Reddbrique

I wish they would bring back the death penalty, because someone needs to kill me, please.

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Reserve
Reserve

Scott Moxley and Christine Hanley are the real champions in bringing out the corruption of the former OC Sheriff, which led to him being brought to justice. I am privileged to know both of these fine reporters and OC owes them a huge debt of gratitude for their courage and integrity.

Scott is 100% correct when he states in his article: “But though Carona had numerous establishment types (and, for far too long, a protective, gullible Orange County Register newsroom) working behind-the-scenes to shield him from accountability, they weren’t able to overcome the work of journalists like myself and Christine Hanley at the Los Angeles Times, the relentless determination of Sagel in the U.S. Attorney’s office, and the untainted manner in which federal Judge Andrew J. Guilford runs his courtroom. Make no mistake: In the hands of other reporters, prosecutors and judges, Carona likely would still be in control of the $800 million-per-year agency.” Kudos to all!

Oh you all know who I am...
Oh you all know who I am...

Here let me add to the partial list of BS this a&&hole put me through-nails in my tires, pissing on my radiator so it smelled like pee, having his henchman follow me and tell me that "I wont have a pot to piss in", tickets on my car, followed by motor officers etc...oh lets not forget the cyberstalking-thanks for educating me in what perverted things people do for sex. I had no idea what "scat" was, autoeroticism was-you see I was just a housewife divorcing one of your deputies...nothing more nothing less.. and OC is my home town...how dare you-all I can hope is that someone makes you his butt pirate.. oh but that wont happen because that Colorado prison is pretty cushy..

Atg Me
Atg Me

Outstanding job. Not just on the reporting, but on being part of the story.

There is nothing more despicable that criminal activity that is shielded and facilitated by law. Thank God the many republicans you mentioned did not circle the wagons and protect their own as is often the case with politicians. The post of O.C. sheriff is a political post, and I believe that Corona acted as he believed what was the norm for politicians.

Recent light cast on the cockroaches in the city of Bell show the real diseased underbelly that is politics, so the way the good sheriff acted was in lock step with the norm. It is no wonder he laughed " like he'd just heard the funniest joke of his life... " because scum like this prove that crime does pay and no crime pays better than political crime.$20,000.00 per month for the rest of his miserable life?

How many cars to you have to steal, or pounds of cocaine do you have to sell to make 5k per week? Nope, his career as a criminal is far, far more lucrative than the average thief. How many distressed and ruined Americans would take the prison time he faces in exchange for that income?

Jesus Scott, pay me 5k a week and you can sodomize me ( as long as the dollar is worth anything that is ).

The sheriff should be treated as they treat those in China who are caught dealing in graft and corruption; they should tie his hands behind his back and shoot the mother fucker in the back of the head.

I salute the excellent work and public service you have performed here.

Albert Barlow
Albert Barlow

Crime pays for the little sheriff; 5k per week.

Somebody get a rope.

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Genelle and Jack Reilley
Genelle and Jack Reilley

Mr. Moxley, thank you for following the Carona story. Your article is superb. We met Carona at a victim's press conference early in his Sheriff's career and we immediatley disliked him. When the truth about him finally came out, we were not surprised. Not only was he a creep, he surrounded himself with department sycophants, political and business leaders who are still hanging around.

Question: what is the source of the money spent on his defense? We understand a hot shot team of lawyers are suposedly defending out of the goodness of their heart, but we think there is more to the story. Who is paying the defense to keep Carona from talking?

Thank you again. Genelle and Jack

Grumpy_gorilla
Grumpy_gorilla

So tell me something since they know that he was and is a liar in the first place because he's a cop then why don't they do the same thing to ex-President George W.anker Bush because I was in Texas when he was Governor of that state and they hated him even when he was in the Governorship, they now know for a fact that him and his cronies lied us into false intelligence wars for oil and allowed New Orleans to be destroyed by a natural disaster caused by the oil industry buddies that he was dealing with includin the vice president, (the spilled oil refineries disaster downtown caused by the hurricane was never reported in the regular news cycles and the oil companies never cleaned it up) so why don't they send the Feds to Texas and place the now ex-President and ex-Vice President under arrest for the crimes that they committed. No One Is Above The Laws that were and have been broken and it has been counted as high as 740 plus times that Bush himself violated the Constitution of the United States of America.

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Sydneyesq
Sydneyesq

One more thought. I hope the wife, the one he constantly cheated on, has a ball spending his "hard earned" monthly pension. If it were moi I'd be scheduling my consultation with a plastic surgeon, redecorating my house and finding a pool boy to service my every whim....payback is a you know what.

Sydneyesq
Sydneyesq

$20,000 per month for life.......gee what if his life is shortened by Bubba while incarcerated. That would be a tragedy! NOT! We can only hope!

Atg Me
Atg Me

5 star work.Congrats on the reporting and being part of the story.

Glad to be retired
Glad to be retired

Did Y'all read how it was REPUBLICANS that worked hard to get him convicted?

Notnebttoblat
Notnebttoblat

Wait a minute, he gets to keep his pension? $20,000 a MONTH!?!?!? Thats about what I'm making a YEAR right now. WTF?

briansays
briansays

poster boy for the oc republican party leadershipdems your literature simply is his booking photounderneith it the words"Had Enough?"

Keep the Faith
Keep the Faith

A special thanks to Moxley and crew for your tenacious investigative journalism that helped to bring this rabid dog down. America is failing in part because the mainstream media is owned and investigative journalism has effectively been neutered for the last 2 decades. We depend upon the media to protect us from tyranny. Unless the major media venues wake up and do their jobs we're toast. God help us.

Knock 'em all out!
Knock 'em all out!

Now You need to further expose all the dirty Republicans who helped with the coverup of the Little Sheriff, like most of the sitting board of the Orange County Central Committee.

And answer this, why didn't Jon Fleishmann or Mike Schroeder's names come up in these investigations?

Firearmsinst
Firearmsinst

What about some more of his associates? Like J. Anderson, G. Block, and others who have benefited from Mr. Corona's time in office? Will they continue to be rewarded by this County through law suits and business contracts? Just a thought. Our new Sheriff can only do so much, especially with some of the old boys still around. I'm sure she will clean up as much as she can, and has done a great job so far. Thank you Orange Country for backing our new Sheriff and helping her to rid the old boys out of town.

Albert92882
Albert92882

Or the judges that endorsed this crook to be sheriff, Where are they now. They endorsed Carona to increase their power and influence and it blew up in their face.

Atg Me
Atg Me

Wasn't it the dirty republicans that brought this to trial and ended it?

Rat
Rat

Too funny G! You point out and name people that benefited from Carona's time in office. Just how do you think Anderson and Block benefited? I don't see either one of those guys driving fancy cars and living in expensive houses. The "old boys" you speak of that are still around ALL contributed to her campaign (neither being Anderson or Block). You might want to check campaign contributions and you will see the same names that showed up on Hutchens campaign contributions were Carona's. Next time you want to write a little defamation of character, you might want to have some real facts to back them up.

Knock 'em all out!
Knock 'em all out!

I don't think anyone knows if Sagel and Julian of the DOJ or the IRS Criminal investigators are Republicans.

What we DO know, is that the Republican Central Committee Elitists broke their own bylaws through Jon Fleishmann, who at the time worked in the OCSD for Carona, to get him the Republican endorsement.

Sta 18 veteran
Sta 18 veteran

Anderson was a Carona Crony just like Bishop&Galisky&Jaramillo.

Listen_to_our_plea
Listen_to_our_plea

I would to see the community to attend more public hearings, and look at the publi c records, and put these scoundrals on the hot seat....Ruthless Republicans, corrupt as Sherrif Corona, God bless you hypocrits.....phony baloneys, and two faced, and liars , cheaters, and deceivers....

 
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