The Accidental Humor of Mike Carona Corruption Lawyer Brian A. Sun

Thursday's Mike Carona corruption trial pitted government witness Joe Cavallo, a lawyer who became infamous for his energetic defense of three gang rapists, and Brian A. Sun, a Jones Day lawyer representing indicted ex-Sheriff Mike Carona, a long-time Cavallo pal.

How effective was Sun, who has a national reputation after defending accused communist Chinese spy Wen Ho Lee? He scored some points for Carona and others for federal prosecutors, but consider these two exchanges:

Repeating a statement a second or third time, Cavallo testified, "I've never seen this document [related to a secret scheme to enrich Carona and his pals] before."

Sun: So you're saying you've never seen this document before?


What's interesting is that this lame exchange happened after a visibly frustrated federal Judge Andrew Guilford asked--no, begged--Sun to make his cross examination of Cavallo less rambling and incoherent.

Shortly thereafter, Sun addressed Cavallo by the wrong name.

"Please don't call me Mr. Jaramillo," said Cavallo, who lost his law license and was confined to his home for six months this year after a conviction for operating a bail bonds scheme tied to Carona's jail.

Prosecutors allege that ex-Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo, Carona and one of the sheriff's mistresses were enriched by unreported kickbacks tied to Cavallo's work. 

As if momentarily lost, Sun stood frozen by Cavallo's rebuke and then added, "I deeply apologize sir."

If only Carona could have hired the feisty Cavallo--truly one of the most colorfully entertaining characters ever to work in OC's criminal justice system--to defend him!

Back in boredom, Sun has made no secret that the defense wants jurors to blame all the Carona-era corruption at the Orange County Sheriff's Department on Jaramillo, Carona's longtime best friend, vacation pal and hand-picked second in command at California's second largest police agency.

Still, no official word if Jaramillo--who, unlike Carona--has already confessed to numerous bribery-related crimes and is awaiting sentencing in federal court--will be called by either side to testify. Not that our wishes count, but I'm guessing that a group other than reporters is dying to see a Jaramillo appearance: jurors, who've heard so many derogatory accusations about the Mormon ex-cop, they'll expect him to enter the courtroom with a bodacious Hollywood porn star under one arm and a clever proposed financial scam for them in the other.

(R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly)


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