Federal court officials next week will mail hundreds of summonses to prospective jurors in the upcoming corruption trial of former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona, a judge said Friday.
U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford made the decision after saying he found no compelling reason to postpone Carona's Aug. 26 trial. The judge also set a July 18 deadline to hear any remaining pretrial motions.
"We are definitely on track" for the trial to proceed as scheduled, Guilford said during a hearing in his Santa Ana courtroom.
Carona; his wife, Deborah; and former mistress, Debra V. Hoffman are charged with conspiring to exchange the power of Carona's elected position for tens of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts. He and Hoffman are scheduled to stand trial together. His wife will be prosecuted separately.
In addition to the corruption charge, the former sheriff is accused of witness tampering for allegedly asking former Assistant Sheriff Donald Haidl to lie to a federal grand jury. Hoffman also faces separate bankruptcy fraud charges.
Attorneys for all sides said they expect the trial to take about 30 court days. They also said the trial will be based largely on testimony of Carona's former assistants, George Jaramillo and Haidl, and not on documents or physical evidence. Jaramillo and Haidl have pleaded guilty to federal crimes and are expected to receive consideration at sentencing for their cooperation against Carona.
Jurors were expected to be summoned to court Aug. 5 to fill out lengthy questionnaires that would address their familiarity with media coverage of the case and potential biases. They would then return to court within a week and be questioned individually before defense and prosecution attorneys decide on the 12 who would decide Carona's fate.
Carona resigned in January after nine years as leader of California's second-largest sheriff's department.