100 may testify against Carona

Times Staff Writer

More than 100 government witnesses might be called to testify against former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona during a corruption trial that is expected to last six to eight weeks, attorneys said today in open court.

The number of witnesses and duration of the trial were among several issues raised as defense attorneys and prosecutors debated whether the trial date should be postponed from Aug. 26 to Oct. 28.

U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford did not immediately issue a decision.

The dispute on the motion seeking postponement centered primarily on 12,000 pages of witness statements that the government turned over to the defense in late June.


Brian A. Sun, one of Carona’s attorneys, argued that they needed more time to evaluate the latest “wave of discovery,” saying the records identify new witnesses and provide new information for them to investigate.

“We have a lot to do,” Sun said.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Brett Sagel called the defense argument a “smoke screen,” saying Carona and his attorneys were already familiar with the government’s witnesses and a portion of the 12,000 pages of records.

He said the government made the witness statements available 60 days before trial even though, under rules of the court, the defense is not entitled to them.

Carona resigned in January after nine years in office to focus on fighting charges that he misused his office to enrich himself and others including his wife, Deborah, and former mistress Debra Hoffman. All three have pleaded not guilty.