New attorney seeks to delay next trial of Katherine Kealoha

Former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha is pictured in June. A newly appointed, taxpayer-funded attorney representing Kealoha wants to delay her trial on bank fraud and identity theft charges. AP photo

HONOLULU — A newly appointed, taxpayer-funded attorney representing a former Honolulu prosecutor wants to delay her trial on bank fraud and identity theft charges.

Lawyer Gary Singh was appointed to represent Katherine Kealoha after her former taxpayer-funded attorney Cynthia Kagiwada asked to withdraw from the case, citing a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.

Kealoha and her retired police chief husband were convicted last month of conspiracy in a plot to frame her uncle. Prosecutors said the couple wanted to keep the uncle from revealing fraud that paid for their lavish lifestyle.

The couple’s fraud and identity theft trial is scheduled for October.

At a hearing Thursday, Singh said he needs more time and sought a delay until January.

The timing of that trial will affect scheduling for another trial faced by Katherine Kealoha with her pain physician brother on drug-dealing charges.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright wants to Singh to consult with other attorneys involved about new trial dates.

Seabright anticipates the upcoming trials will take about two weeks each, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

A judge appointed taxpayer-funded attorneys for the Kealohas after they said they couldn’t afford to hire their own.

After they were found guilty of conspiracy, Seabright ordered Katherine Kealoha into federal custody because of concerns she would try to obstruct justice if she remained free on bond before her sentencing.

Prosecutors didn’t object to allowing her husband to remain free on bond.

When Katherine Kealoha walked into the courtroom with two deputy marshals for Thursday’s hearing, she kissed her private attorney, Earle Partington, on the cheek and then waved to her husband sitting in the front row, Hawaii News Now reported.

Partington joined her defense team in the midst of the first trial. He has said her mother hired him and he won’t represent her at the other trials.