Another rising star plummets back to earth:
Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona was once seen as a rising star in state Republican politics and had been mentioned as a possible candidate for lieutenant governor.
But the head of the nation’s fifth largest sheriff’s department has been indicted on federal corruption charges and is now fighting to save his career and stay out of prison.
Carona was expected to turn himself over to authorities Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana ahead of an afternoon arraignment, U.S. attorney spokesman Thom Mrozek said. The three-term sheriff faces seven counts, including conspiracy, mail fraud and witness tampering, according to a sweeping indictment unsealed a day earlier.
Also charged were Carona’s wife of 27 years, Deborah, and attorney Debra Victoria Hoffman, identified in court papers as his “longtime mistress.”***
Two former assistant sheriffs, Donald Haidl and George Jaramillo, previously pleaded guilty to related charges as part of a deal with prosecutors. Jaramillo, who is currently serving a 12-month term on state charges, cooperated with federal investigators to bring the case against Carona, his attorney said.
If convicted on all counts, Carona could face a maximum sentence of 105 years in prison, plus thousands of dollars in fines.
105 years? I might be ready to vote for Republicans again by then. The rot runs deep and wide in the current GOP, and I am, quite frankly, astonished that Carona has not been tapped for a Bush administration Justice Department position. This is the kind of talent they seem to really appreciate.