Former Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl won't do jail time for tax evasion. A judge sentenced him today in a Santa Ana courtroom.
Haidl helped out federal prosecutors three years ago, in exchange for lesser charges. He wore a wire to secretly record conversations with then-Sheriff Mike Carona.
Then Haidl testified in Carona's federal corruption trial. Prosecutors say they couldn't have made their case against Carona without Haidl's help, even though the jury only found Carona guilty on a single count of witness tampering.
Haidl pleaded guilty to tax evasion. U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford – who oversaw the Carona trial – sentenced Haidl to two years probation, 200 hours of community service and a $40,000 fine.
Guilford said Haidl did an "extraordinary job" of cooperating with prosecutors. The judge pointed out that Haidl's already suffered for his crimes.
Judge Guilford said this case also sends a message to corrupt law enforcement that you never know who's going to turn you in. Haidl was Carona's second-hand man and also one of his good friends.