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Carona faces more claims

Prosecution plans additional allegations against the ex-sheriff, defense says. Jury pool is reduced by 75.

October 15, 2008|Christine Hanley and Stuart Pfeifer | Times Staff Writers

Attorneys for former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona revealed Tuesday that the government plans to present additional allegations against Carona during his upcoming corruption trial, and argued that they are entitled to the information before the trial later this month.

Jeffrey Rawitz, one of Carona's attorneys, said the defense became aware of the allegations during pretrial discussions with prosecutors, and asked that details be turned over to them. Senior Assistant U.S. Atty. Kenneth Julian countered that prosecutors already have provided Carona's attorneys with a witness list and witness statements, and that they are not obligated to provide further information.

U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford did not rule on that motion or seven others argued during a full morning session.

Carona is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 28 on charges that he misused his office to enrich himself and others, including his wife, Deborah, and a longtime mistress, Debra Hoffman.

Hoffman is being tried with Carona. Deborah Carona faces a separate trial.

The two sides disclosed in open court that they have agreed to eliminate 75 candidates from a pool of 305 prospective jurors because of potential bias -- or for other reasons that would interfere with their ability to serve on the jury.

Brian Sun, who also is representing Carona, told the court that the defense identified at least an additional 75 people who should not be allowed to sit on the jury for a variety of reasons. Sun said they may renew a request that the trial be moved out of Orange County, depending on the outcome of the jury selection.

Jurors who have not been eliminated will return next week to be questioned by the judge, defense and prosecutors, as they continue to try to weed out those who might be biased or cannot sit on a jury because of hardship or other reasons. The goal is to find 70 potential unbiased jurors who will come back Oct. 28 for routine jury selection.

The court is seeking to seat 12 jurors and six alternates for the trial.

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christine.hanley@latimes.com

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