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Questionnaire for Carona jury pool

Jurors will be asked about reading habits, profanity and adultery.

September 16, 2008|Stuart Pfeifer | Times Staff Writer

The 650 people who are called as possible jurors in the federal corruption trial of former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona will be asked everything from their reading habits to their feelings about politicians and people who have extramarital affairs.

U.S. Dist. Judge Andrew J. Guilford and lawyers for Carona and the government agreed Monday on a 12-page questionnaire that will be given to prospective jurors in the case.

Attorneys for both sides will use the questionnaires -- to be issued Oct. 3 -- to help narrow the field to 12 jurors. Opening statements in the case are scheduled to begin Oct. 28.

Carona, his wife, Deborah, and his former mistress, Debra V. Hoffman, are accused of plotting to use the power of Carona's office to obtain tens of thousands of dollars' worth of cash and gifts. Those gifts included vacations, expensive pens and designer clothing.

Carona, 53, who served nine years as Orange County's sheriff, resigned in January to focus on fighting the charges.

Among the questions Guilford approved was whether jurors are offended by profanity -- a concern because Carona used offensive language during a secretly recorded conversation that will be a focus of the trial.

Jurors also will be asked whether they believe that a person who has had an extramarital affair "probably engages in other questionable behavior."

Another concern is the jury candidates' exposure to media coverage of the case. At the request of Carona lawyer Brian A. Sun, Guilford agreed to add only one question about whether they listen to the "John and Ken Show," which broadcast several segments intended to persuade jurors to convict Carona.

Guilford agreed to remove a reference to their radio station, KFI-AM (640). Sun said he was concerned that jurors who hadn't heard the program might tune in if the questionnaire included the station.

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stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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