Court hearing on impeachment of embattled city prosecutor pushed back

Court hearing on impeachment of embattled city prosecutor pushed back
A court hearing will be held on Thursday for efforts to impeach Keith Kaneshiro (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A court hearing to consider an impeachment petition filed against embattled city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro has been pushed back.

The new date for the hearing has been set for March 11.

The proceedings come as the state attorney general is also pursuing a petition with the Hawaii Supreme Court in which she seeks to immediately suspend Kaneshiro.

The impeachment effort is led by Tracy Yoshimura — who Kaneshiro’s office unsuccessfully prosecuted twice for distributing game machines.

Kaneshiro’s impeachment proceedings began after he received a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice, which informed him that he was a focus of a public corruption probe.

That fact prompted many in the legal community to call for him to step down. But he has indicated he has no plans to do so.

Kaneshiro is elected, so voters can only remove him through a recall or impeachment.

Yoshimura collected 900 signatures on the petition. The city has asked for addresses, birth dates and other details about the people who signed it for verification. But Yoshimura was concerned about possible retaliation.

At least 500 signatures are required to continue the impeachment process.

Kaneshiro has been snared in the same investigation looking into his former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her husband, former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha.

Both showed up together at federal court on Wednesday after a new indictment accused Katherine Kealoha and her brother, a Big Island physician, of illegally distributing powerful prescription opioids as part of a large, multi-island conspiracy that started in 2012 and continued through 2018.

Both pleaded not guilty to dozens of drug charges.

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.