Quotes of the Day in the Mike Carona Corruption Trial

"The reason Mike Carona says he sleeps real well at night up to then is because he's lied and he's cheated and he's gotten away with it. No consequences."

--Federal prosecutor Ken Julian in closing argument today remarking on a secret 2007 FBI recording that captured then-Sheriff Carona gloating because he believed his chief co-conspirator, businessman Don Haidl, would keep mum about crimes they'd committed to take control of the Orange County Sheriff's Department in 1999. Haidl recorded the conversation for federal agents in hopes of leniency for himself.

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"He got the keys to the kingdom for $30,000? It's the deal of the century! Is that a likely conversation that would happen?"

--Carona defense lawyer Jeffrey Rawitz mocking Haidl's testimony that Carona had offered him influence over the sheriff's department if he poured a massive amount of illegal money into his then-teetering campaign for sheriff. After taking $48,000 (not $30,000) from Haidl, Carona named the wealthy used car salesman a powerful assistant sheriff, gave him unearned full police powers, pinned a gold badge on his shirt and let him drive a patrol car with a siren and lights.

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"What two people agree to tell a grand jury is not the truth. The truth is the truth."

--Julian commenting on what he believes were Carona's numerous attempts to convince Haidl that the two men needed to concoct the same lies to escape bribery and abuse of office indictments.

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"Orange County citizens were not hurt by anything Mike Carona did."

--Rawitz attempting to downplay the government's evidence after admitting that the county's top cop had indeed repeatedly failed to disclose expensive gifts from Haidl.

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"Under Carona, cheaters prospered . . . A police officer is granted a public trust and they must consistently exhibit the highest ethics."

--Julian reminding jurors that it's a big deal for the sheriff to accept monthly envelopes stuffed with $100 bills from Haidl, who secretly funded Carona's motel and dining encounters with a longtime mistress. During a five-year period, Carona failed to publicly disclose more than $430,000 in Haidl gifts including free private jet trips, hotel rooms, booze, food, custom suits, casino chips and a Sea Ray boat.

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"This is not a criminal conspiracy. It's a friendship."

--Rawitz explaining that the Haidl "gifts" weren't bribes--something Haidl called them on the witness stand--but rather small tokens of affection between friends who'd met during Carona's first campaign for sheriff.
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"Lie, lie, lie."

--Julian's explanation of Carona's preferred method of dealing with criminal investigations into his activities as sheriff.

R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly


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