Honolulu’s top prosecutor takes leave amid federal probe

  • Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro talks to The Associated Press in 2016 in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Cathy Bussewitz, File)

HONOLULU — Honolulu’s top prosecutor said Thursday he would take a leave of absence from his office, a move that comes after he has been made a target of a federal corruption investigation.

Keith Kaneshiro said in a statement he was acting to “avoid further distraction” and ensure the “orderly administration of justice.” He said Dwight Nadamoto would serve as acting prosecuting attorney.

ADVERTISING


Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors welcomed Kaneshiro’s announcement, saying it was the right thing for him to do.

Last month Connors asked the state’s highest court to suspend Kaneshiro because he’s an investigation target. She said Kaneshiro’s initial refusal to take leave subjected cases pursued by his office to potential ethical and legal challenges.

It’s not clear what Kaneshiro is being investigated for, but his attorney Bill McCorriston confirmed that Kaneshiro received a letter saying he was a target of the investigation.

The probe has already resulted in indictments against former Kaneshiro deputy Katherine Kealoha, her husband former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha and current and former officers.

ADVERTISING


The Kealohas are scheduled to go to trial this year on charges that they used police resources to frame her uncle in an attempt to discredit him in a family financial dispute. They also face a second trial on charges they bilked banks, relatives and others to fund their lavish lifestyle.

Katherine Kealoha and her pain physician brother, Dr. Rudolph Puana, have separately been indicted on charges they dealt opioids and used her position as a prosecutor to hide their crimes. The siblings have pleaded not guilty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.