Trial delayed against ex-police chief, ex-prosecutor wife

The Associated Press
HONOLULU — A U.S. judge said the medical records of a former Honolulu prosecutor convinced him that a trial against her and her retired police chief husband must be delayed. U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi said he reviewed Katherine Kealoha’s confidential medical records filed under seal and determined she wouldn’t be able to attend a trial set for November and would be unable to assist in her defense. The trial against Kealoha and her husband, Louis Kealoha, focuses on allegations the Kealohas were so desperate to fund their lifestyle and maintain their status as a power couple that they swindled banks, relatives and children whose trust funds Katherine Kealoha controlled when she was in private practice. The couple are scheduled to face a second trial in March, along with four current and former officers, in what has become one of Hawaii’s biggest public corruption scandals. The Kealohas are accused of trying to frame an uncle in an attempt to discredit him in a family financial dispute. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday to discuss new trial dates. Prosecutors had opposed the delay, saying in a public court filing that she has a history of “feigning serious illness.” “Defendant’s under seal filing fails to establish how the alleged medical condition would interfere with defendant’s ability to prepare for, and participate in, her trial,” they wrote. “The instant motion appears to be just another in a series of tactics designed to avoid the consequences of her actions.” Cynthia Kagiwada, Katherine Kealoha’s attorney, called those claims outrageous. Puglisi scolded prosecutors for filing a public document that referred to her medical condition and included a photo taken from news footage of her recently paying for a food delivery to show she’s not gravely ill. The public has a right to know if the case isn’t going to trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Beste said. Filing the document publicly wasn’t careful “because a defendant in any case has constitutional right to privacy just like we have a constitutional right to public trials,” he said.