"I like his values system."
--Defense witness Thomas Banks, a volunteer pilot in the Orange County Sheriff's Aero Squadron, on why he'd contributed to Sheriff Mike Carona's campaign and offered him a paid board position at his company, Aperture Health of Mission Viejo. Last year, FBI agents arrested OC's top cop--a foul-mouthed, voracious adulterer who surrounded himself with three convicted felons, reneged on all 10 of his original campaign promises, aided a murderer/businessman in a product scheme after getting illegal contributions, traded real badges for illegal contributions, plotted to profit from a private jail business plan, used his position to get sex from department secretaries, played with a Russian prostitute, awarded no-bid contracts to pals, gave concealed weapon permits to folks tied to organized crime outfits, promoted unqualified employees if they were loyal to him, sent birthday messages to a subordinate's wife and referenced his penis, allowed a Middle Eastern conman to film top secret Homeland Security procedures in Southern California, lied to county supervisors, hid the identities of businessmen who'd contributed millions of dollars to his foundation, routinely wasted taxpayer funds by traveling with ridiculously oversized security details, shamelessly tried to use a little girl's tragic murder as his political ticket to the governor's mansion or the U.S. Senate, ignored his own department's evidence that one of his pals had been tied to a major West Coast narcotics trafficker, managed to produce tears at the same time TV news cameras were turned on at crimes, and warmly hugged and drank with a Mafia associate from Las Vegas at a Newport Beach bar. Federal prosecutors Brett Sagel and Ken Julian claim that Carona also accepted cash bribes, took secret, free private jet trips with a mistress, took thousands of dollars in casino chips, thwarted a major sexual harassment investigation, attempted to tamper with a federal grand jury witness, routinely lied to the public in annual financial disclosure reports, boasted about getting political enemies indicted and allowed his friends and a mistress to profit from the deaths of deputies in a secret kickback scheme with a personal injury lawyer he'd befriended. On cross examination, Banks admitted he'd gotten Carona to invest $50,000 in his company because he liked his "fellowship."
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(R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly)