Does AG's Report on Haidl Bust Clear Bill Hunt?
Carona: Tried to fake history with a lapdog deputy
Over at the Friends For Fullerton's Future blog, Travis Kiger has posted a copy of the controversial California Attorney General's report on the Greg Haidl pot bust incident that I first broke in December 2003.
The AG's six-year-old report has become hot again in political circles because it mentions the role of then-San Clemente police chief Bill Hunt in the scandal that centered on whether Haidl, the then-teenage son of an assistant sheriff and a rape case defendant, had gotten preferential treatment in a minor drug bust.
Who cares now?
Well, Hunt is one of two challengers (with Anaheim deputy police chief Craig Hunter) hoping to unseat appointed Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. For years, Hunt's detractors have used the report to blame him for participating in a cover up. The AG's report does slap Hunt for showing "poor judgment" by ordering the editing of a police report of the incident.
But, according to Kiger, the 21-page "document is primarily an indictment against a department culture created under [then-Sheriff Mike] Carona."
Says Kiger, "It's not quite the indictment on Hunt that his detractors claim it to be."
Indeed, arguably having more information about this matter than any other journalist, I long ago concluded that while Hunt's actions may not have been ideal, he had been set up to be a fall guy by higher powers.
At the time of the Haidl pot bust, Carona was telling reporters that he'd played no role in the screw ups of his staff, including Hunt, who was a lieutenant at the time he served as San Clemente's top cop. He even assured me that he'd been completely out of the loop on the matter during the first week of the scandal.
But I later proved that Carona lied. According to phone records, deputies contacted Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo who then called Carona at home on the night of the pot bust. As it turned out, Carona pretend he was above the fray while he was actually attempting to pin the mess on two potential threats to his sloppy reign: Jaramillo and Hunt. That evidence was used by federal prosecutors in their successful corruption case against the sheriff, by the way.
Kiger also notes that the AG's report relies heavily on information produced by Jo Ann Galisky. This fact alone discredits it. Galisky, a high school drop out with no sense of ethics, was Carona's most irrationally loyal underling in the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Nonetheless, the Hunter campaign has been distributing the AG's report to voters.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
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