Friday, November 21, 2008
The Carona Trial-Haidl Under "Cross-Examination"
From car auctioneer to "Asst Sheriff" to "rat"-Don Haidl
This week, Don Haidl continued his testimony against ex-Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona in the federal corruption trial in Santa Ana. Today, Haidl was cross-examined by Silvia Torres-Guillen, who is the public defender for co-defendant Debra Hoffman (who was Carona's mistress and accused co-conspirator).
Ms Torres-Guillen spent considerable time trying to get Haidl to admit he was a "snitch" or "rat". No Perry Mason moment there.
She also irritated the judge by trying to make a major point of how many times Haidl had met with prosecutors and police when he began cooperating. Haidl didn't recall but accepted Ms Torres-Guillen's number of 18 as being pretty close. At this point, the attorney tried to have Haidl read the government report for each meeting out loud in court. The judge put a quick end to that idea-probably to the relief of the jurors who are now anticipating a trial that might go into January.
But the real laffer was when Torres-Guillen went after Haidl's testimony about some $100,000 that Haidl had funneled into propping up Hoffman's failing law firm (she is also charged with bankruptcy fraud). Torres-Guillen put up an enlarged image of a check book purported to be Hoffman's that showed two payments of $2,000 each as "evidence" that Hoffman was repaying the "loan". Haidl replied that it was his own check book that the attorney had put up and that these were payments made by him.
Moral of the story; if you ever get arrested, don't get a public defender. You might as well plead guilty.