In May 2006, OC Weekly broke the news that then-Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona had allowed fellow con man Joseph M. Medawar to film the county's top secret anti-terrorism training procedures three years earlier. (See "Department of Homeland Stupidity.") A native of Lebanon, Medawar used the footage and personal endorsements from Carona and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Skipped Vietnam combat duty, pictured), to bilk more than $5.5 million from unsuspecting Republicans and religious conservatives. Medawar claimed the money would fund a new television series called DHS, but the FBI discovered the cash had been diverted to personal use including a $40,000-a-month Beverly Hills mansion. (Rohrabacher grabbed $23,000 of the loot under the pretense that Medawar, 46, paid him for a decades old, worthless script.) Since then, Carona's been indicted in a separate bribery scam, Rohrabacher continues babbling about whatever and Medawar's gone to prison. But last week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the con man's punishment. Federal sentencing guidelines called for Medawar to get 57 to 71 months in prison. Los Angeles-based U.S. Judge Manuel L. Real, an LBJ appointee of dubious ethics and temperament, had ignored the cries of 50 victims and—without explanation—given Medawar a light 366-day sentence. The appellate justices told Real to try again.
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-- R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly