Carona free despite scheduled surrender

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was to decide whether /*Carona*/ can remain free during the appeal of his conviction for witness tampering.

Carona's surrender date was tied to when the court issues a ruling. Without a ruling, Carona was not obligated to surrender.

The 53-year-old Carona was to begin serving a 5 1/2 year term at an undisclosed location.

Prosecutors asked the court to imprison Carona during the appeals process, calling him a danger to society because of a lack of remorse.

They say Carona had a celebratory demeanor after a jury acquitted him of five of six corruption-related counts on January 16.

Defense attorney Jeffrey Rawitz said Carona presented no danger to the public.

The witness-tampering charge stemmed from a secretly recorded conversation Carona had on August 13, 2007, with /*Don Haidl*/.

Prosecutors argued that Carona accepted more than $350,000 in cash and gifts from the wealthy businessman, in return for making him an assistant sheriff.

Carona served as sheriff from January 1999 through January 2008, when he stepped down to concentrate on his defense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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