Mask rule delays trial for ex-Hawaii prosecutor’s brother

HONOLULU (AP) — A former high-ranking city prosecutor once took a photo with a line of cocaine on the desk of her husband, then-Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, according to court documents filed in preparation of a drug-dealing trial against her pain physician brother.

Dr. Rudolph Puana’s trial was scheduled for September, but lawyers on the case agreed Wednesday to postpone it to December because of concerns that jurors would have to wear masks. Clint Broden, Puana’s attorney, said in an email that while he supports state-issued mask mandates, most federal courts are allowing face shields during the jury selection process because “facial expressions are so important” in putting together a fair panel.

According to federal prosecutors, the Big Island doctor prescribed drugs to nearly 1,000 patients between 2012 and 2017. Twenty-one of them received 30-milligram oxycodone pills, but a “staggering number” of those pills went to just two patients, prosecutors said.

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