HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has pleaded not guilty to theft and other charges stemming from his alleged misuse of a government credit card.
Kenoi's attorney entered the plea on his behalf, and a trial has been set for July 18.
Kenoi was present at a 1 p.m. hearing Wednesday, even though he didn't have to be. He walked into the Hilo courthouse holding his wife's hand, and greeting supporters.
Last week, after a months-long investigation, a grand jury indicted Kenoi with two counts of second-degree felony theft, two counts of misdemeanor theft, three counts of tampering with government records and one count of false swearing.
On Tuesday, Kenoi turned himself in at the Pahoa police station and was released.
Kenoi's attorney, Todd Eddins, said Wednesday that Kenoi will vigorously fight the charges against him.
"People of Hawaii Island, Mayor Kenoi has not committed one crime," he said. "He has given his all, his heart and his soul for this island. It's an over-reach to call him a thief and it's fighting words and Mayor Kenoi is going to fight these flimsy allegations all the way."
Kenoi has admitted to making tens of thousands of dollars of unauthorized purchases on his government purchasing card, but the mayor says he intended to pay it back. He has also apologized to Big Island constituents.