HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Deputy city Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha's attorney kicked off her defense arguments Tuesday, saying the accusation that she used a faked mailbox theft to frame her uncle with a federal crime is "unprovable."
Attorney Kevin Sumida is also demanding in court filings that the criminal case against Kealoha and her husband Louis, the former chief of police, be divided into two separate cases — one on the mailbox conspiracy and the second on financial fraud and identity theft charges.
Sumida argues that the cases require different strategies to defend.
While the Kealohas' might want to testify in the financial fraud case to explain what different documents and transactions were, the strategy fighting the conspiracy would likely require them to refuse to testify.
"None of the defendants have admitted to any such 'conspiracy' and none will lie as the government hopes, in order to establish such a conspiracy," Sumida argues in the court filings. "This is not to say that the government will not try, by threatening the defendants with all the power it has in its disposal, to bludgeon one of more of them into pleading 'guilty to a crime they did not commit ... on the actual state of the evidence, there was no conspiracy."
When accused by her uncle and grandmother of theft several years ago, Katherine Kealoha took the stand and convinced the jury that she was wrongfully accused, and ended up winning the civil trial.
Kealoha is also asking the judge to remove the parts of the indictment that accuse her of stealing from relatives.
That motion argues that the jury verdict in the civil trial exonerated her and that there is no evidence she took money from two young relatives for whom she was holding a settlement in a malpractice case.
The case is shaping up to be extremely complex, with prosecutors indicating that the evidence in the case so far amounts to more than 230,000 pages.
The Kealohas are due in court Wednesday, where a judge will hear a motion to disqualify Sumida and Kealoha's other attorney, Myles Breiner, from the case because of alleged conflicts of interest.