SANTA ANA ( — A former Orange County official once known as “America’s Sheriff” has lost an appeal to have his federal prison sentence reduced for a 2009 witness tampering conviction.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a district court judge in denying Michael Carona’s final appeal Tuesday.

Carona had asked the court to cut his five-and-a-half-year prison sentence, which he began in January 2011, roughly in half. He could be released as early as November 2015.

Assistant US Attorney Brett Sagel said the decision is the disgraced former sheriff’s last legal option.

“He was given all of his rights to challenge in the judicial system, but in the end, he’s still a convicted felon and he will serve out his remaining sentence,” Sagel said.

Carona was indicted on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and witness tampering in a sweeping public corruption case, but was acquitted of all but one charge.

He made national headlines during a successful investigation into the 2002 kidnapping and murder of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion and was dubbed “America’s Sheriff” by CNN’s Larry King.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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