He was hailed as "America's Sheriff" on CNN, glorified as a relentless lawman hunting down criminals, named Orange County's most popular politician, and promoted as a Christian conservative on his way to the governor's mansion or the U.S. Senate, but something--let's call it reality--got in the way. Mike Carona was, in fact, a glorified bailiff who'd parlayed illegal contributions into an election victory for California's second-largest police agency. Far from the rosy public image, Carona converted his power into a freak show of greed, incompetence and deviancy involving dirty deputies, prostitutes, organized-crime figures, titty-bar owners, booze and conmen. While the local daily spent years polishing his reputation, OC Weekly readers were the first to see the true face of OC's top cop, well before his sensational October 2007 FBI arrest. It's all here in this online archive.
For continuing coverage of USA v. Michael S. Carona, go the Weekly's news blog, Navel Gazing.
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