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Former O.C. Sheriff Mike Carona seeking reduced prison term

April 01, 2013|By Nicole Santa Cruz
  • Former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona speaks outside federal court in Santa Ana in 2009 after being convicted of witness tampering. He was sentenced to 5-1/2 years.
Former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona speaks outside federal court… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

A federal judge may decide Monday whether to resentence convicted former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona, potentially freeing him from federal prison.

Carona’s attorneys argued in court documents that a sentence handed down in 2009 on a witness tampering conviction should be adjusted based on changes in the law.

The conviction was based in part on testimony from the government’s star witness --  former assistant sheriff Don Haidl -- who secretly recorded a conversation in which Carona asked him to lie to a grand jury investigating suspected wrongdoing in the department.

Carona, who oversaw the state’s second-largest sheriff’s agency, was acquitted on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and one count of witness tampering. But he was found guilty on another count of witness tampering.

During his two-month trial, prosecutors alleged that Carona accepted secret cash payments, provided campaign contributors with badges and concealed-weapon licenses, and participated in numerous sexual affairs.

Carona began serving a 5-1/2-year sentence at a federal prison in Colorado in January 2011.

His lawyers are asking that his time be cut in half.

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Twitter: @nicolesantacruz

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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