Former sheriff's lieutenant Bill Hunt is suing Carona and the county for damages, alleging he was demoted after running against Carona and losing in the run for sheriff in 2006.
Hunt acknowledged criticizing Carona's administration following the election, something he says is protected under the First Amendment. The county said the criticism had the potential to disrupt the sheriff's department and gave the county valid reason to demote Hunt. He eventually resigned.
On top of damages, Hunt is also seeking to be restored to his position as lieutenant and police chief in San Clemente.
The trial comes in the wake of Carona's conviction in January of witness tampering. He remains free pending an appeal.