A former brazen Florida cocaine trafficker, who became an ultra-wealthy database guru that bought valuable gifts for corrupt Orange County sheriff-turned-convicted-felon Mike Carona, died Thursday or Friday, according to news reports.
The Palm Beach Post quickly handed Hank Asher, 61 and a high school dropout, a gushing hagiography by declaring him “an entrepreneur who pioneered the use of databases,” “spent millions of his fortune fighting child pornography” and was “a national crime-fighting figure.”
Somewhere, someone is making an Asher superhero costume, no?
Asher liked the Bible-thumping Carona–once a rising star in the California Republican Party, an Arnold Schwarzenegger confidant and a sheriff who eagerly accept bribes (cash, fine suits, casino chips, hotel rooms, illegal campaign contributions, booze–lots of booze, private jet rides and, yes, a boat).
Carona, who is serving a 66-month sentence in a Colorado federal prison, once arrogantly declared (before his arrest and while he served on a top-secret George W. Bush
national security task force) that investigating FBI
agents had only found evidence of “the nigger money
“–smaller sized bribes.
Carona didn't know that his statements were secretly recorded by Don Haidl
, a Rancho Cucamonga used car salesman, who illegally gave Carona more than $200,000 in 1998 to defeat Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters
for the county's top cop job.
Haidl–a notorious chain smoker and booze guzzler with a penchant for communicating in streams of cuss words–was rewarded for the illegal contributions with a powerful assistant sheriff's job and, though he'd never taken a single police training class, full police powers in California.
He also got a county patrol car, one he later admitted in court that he used to impress his neighbors and friends.
(Jeffrey Rawitz, one of Carona's colorful, high-priced defense lawyers, died at the age of 46 shortly after enthusiastically attempting to discredit the case brought by Assistant United States Attorney Brett Sagel and his office partner, Ken Julian, who is now in private practice.)
While Carona sat atop California's second largest sheriff's department, Asher–who'd earlier in his life flown cocaine loaded planes from Central America to Florida–secretly bought dinner for him and Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo and gave their wives diamond-studded gold Cartier watches worth more than $30,000.
During Carona's corruption trial inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, two sources told me that Asher also paid for the dirty sheriff's massive legal defense team. Confronted with the allegation, one the lawyers smiled, paused and said he couldn't speak on the record about the topic.
R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.