The Latest: Prosecutor's lawyer confirms target letter - InfoNews

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The Latest: Prosecutor's lawyer confirms target letter

February 12, 2019 - 5:40 PM

HONOLULU - The Latest on a corruption investigation involving former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

A lawyer representing Honolulu's prosecuting attorney confirms he received a letter saying he is a target linked to a growing corruption investigation that has resulted in indictments against a former deputy prosecutor and her retired police chief husband.

Attorney Bill McCorriston also says a legal petition calling for the suspension of Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro because of the target letter is based only on speculation and media reports.

State Attorney General Clare Connors filed the petition Tuesday with the state Supreme Court seeking Kaneshiro's immediate suspension.

McCorriston says there's no dysfunction in the prosecutor's office and Kaneshiro deserves a presumption of innocence.

A former deputy prosecutor who worked under Kaneshiro, Katherine Kealoha, is scheduled to go to trial next month on allegations that she and her husband, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, framed an uncle for stealing their home mailbox.

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1 p.m.

Hawaii's attorney general is asking the state's highest court to immediately suspend Honolulu's top prosecutor because he is the target of a federal investigation.

A petition filed to the Hawaii Supreme Court by Attorney General Clare Connors said Tuesday Keith Kaneshiro's refusal to take leave during the investigation has subjected every case handled by his office to potential ethical and legal challenges.

A spokesman for the prosecutor's office says Kaneshiro is reviewing the petition.

A former deputy prosecutor who worked under Kaneshiro, Katherine Kealoha, is scheduled to go to trial next month on allegations that she and her husband, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, framed an uncle for stealing their home mailbox.

Several current and former police officers are co-defendants.

A separate federal indictment unsealed Tuesday accuses Katherine Kealoha and her physician brother, Dr. Rudolph Puana, of dealing opioids. Attorneys for the siblings didn't immediately return messages.

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11:50 a.m.

A federal grand jury has indicted a former Honolulu prosecutor and her brother on drug distribution charges.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday also alleges Katherine Kealoha, the wife of now-retired Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha, steered law enforcement away from scrutinizing her brother, Dr. Rudolph Puana, after police told her that he was buying cocaine. Puana is an anesthesiologist.

Messages left Tuesday for lawyers for both siblings were not immediately returned.

The indictment charges the siblings and unnamed co-conspirators with distributing oxycodone, fentanyl and Xanax.

It says Puana advised one co-conspirator to use proceeds from the sale of illegal prescription pain medication to buy cocaine for the two of them.

Kealoha and her husband are scheduled to go to trial in March on unrelated charges.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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