Governor’s pick for attorney general is longtime litigator — who sometimes targeted state

Updated: Jan. 3, 2019 at 8:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige on Thursday appointed former federal prosecutor Clare Connors as the state’s next attorney general.

Connors is a longtime litigator and is now a partner in the downtown law firm of Davis Levin Livingston.

“She has the skills to defend the state in legal proceedings, provide outstanding legal advice and counsel, and manage the largest law firm in the state,” said Ige.

“She will be a tremendous asset as the chief legal officer and chief law enforcement officer of the state of Hawaii.”

As a federal prosecutor, Connors helped convict former Honolulu City Councilmember Andy Mirikitani for corruption.

She said she’s worried about the federal investigation now targeting Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.

“There are concerns that certainly exist regarding Keith Kaneshiro’s position," she said.

Connors is taking the place of former Attorney General Doug Chin, who gained national prominence for filing major lawsuits against the Trump Administration.

“Being able to participate and draw other Attorneys Generals ... when we want to challenge federal policy and federal law will be something that we will be looking at,” Ige said.

Connors has been at Davis Levin since 2011. Her firm has sued the state for personal injury and civil rights cases — the kinds of cases she’ll now have to defend as attorney general.

Hawaii News Now has learned that lawyers with the AG’s office have lobbied to retain interim Attorney General Russell Suzuki by using the department’s official email system, in an apparent violation of state ethics laws.

A staffer also volunteered to collect staff signatures supporting Suzuki, the email said.

Connors' appointment is subject of Senate confirmation.

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