HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu's police chief is trying to keep more damaging information out of the news, while he and his wife face both city and federal investigations, Hawaii News Now has learned.
Sources say Chief Louis Kealoha's attorney has asked the city Ethics Commission to investigate whistleblowers and the commission is doing just that. Subpoenas have been sent out to dozens of police officers, former officers, and civilians are being ordered to testify under oath.
Ethics commission probes are kept secret, so no one will comment on why officers must be questioned under oath. But sources say the chief is trying to find out who's been leaking details about the cases.
The entire saga involving the police chief stretches back to the 2013 theft of the Kealohas' mailbox and the arrest of his wife's uncle for the crime. That case ended in a mistrial.
The FBI is investigating the couple's conduct in the case.
Legal experts say the commission putting potential witnesses under oath could interfere with the FBI's case.
"Ethics commission complaints can be used as a litigation tool, a strategy, a tactic. The commission knows that, or should know that and this sort of investigation can in fact influence witnesses and that's something the commission should be mindful of and careful of," says attorney Bruce Voss.
Two of the city ethics commissioners declined to speak to Hawaii News Now.
Virginia Marks was seen going into private meetings that included the Kealoha's attorney, Kevin Sumida.
Sumida has also filed an anonymous lawsuit against the commission on behalf of the Kealoha's demanding the commission turn over details of the case against them.