Honolulu prosecutor subject of criminal probe
Keith Kaneshiro, the city prosecutor in Honolulu, has become a suspect in a widening federal public corruption investigation that has already snared one of Kaneshiro’s top prosecutors and her husband, the city’s former police chief.
Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has already resigned due to the far reaching inquiry. His wife, deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, is also under investigation for conspiracy and public corruption due to both ticket fixing allegations and charges that she may have attempted to frame her uncle for a mailbox theft.
Kaneshiro appears to be under investigation for how he reacted after the ticket fixing allegations surfaced, with the FBI looking into whether he used his office to help cover for the wrongdoing of his deputy prosecutor.
In 2014, Kealoha’s electrician got a ticket. The deputy prosecutor told him she would take care of it, showing up at his traffic court hearing and asking the judge to dismiss the charge.
Keoloha told the judge the electrician wasn’t driving the car, a career criminal who’d stolen his identity was. The FBI began looking into this apparent lie in 2015.
Kaneshiro was asked to assist in the investigation by providing evidence into the speeding ticket, and declined to cooperate. He fought subpoenas to turn over material to federal authorities, but lost in court.
Hawaii News Now also reported that Kaneshiro later suggested that the speeding ticket was written illegally by the police officer to get overtime for court appearances. Kaneshiro’s office later said the officer was not under investigation. Kaneshiro then claimed the dismissal of the speeding ticket was part of a larger plea bargain, something that also appears to be untrue and is being investigated by the FBI.
The scandal that led to Louis Kealoha resigning as police chief is different, but appears to be linked through his wife to the investigation of the city prosecutors.
The investigation into Louis Kealoha began after one of his subordinates, Niall Silva, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to frame a relative of Katherine Kealoha in the theft of the mailbox from the Kealohas’ home. Court records suggest that Katherine Kealoha attempted to frame her uncle. Kealoha had a financial dispute with that uncle that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. Silva is likely to testify against her if she’s arrested.