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Taxpayers to cover legal fees for embattled city prosecutor to fight impeachment

Keith Kaneshiro. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Keith Kaneshiro. (Image: Hawaii News Now)(Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Feb. 5, 2019 at 10:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu taxpayers will pay for city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro’s lawyer as he fights to keep his job.

Honolulu Councilmembers approved taxpayer funded attorney for embattled prosecutor Keith...
Honolulu Councilmembers approved taxpayer funded attorney for embattled prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.

Kaneshiro is facing impeachment proceedings ― a process that was started after he received a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice late last year, informing him that he was a focus of a public corruption probe.

On Tuesday, the Honolulu City Council Legal Affairs Committee voted to approve using taxpayer dollars to pay for an attorney for Kaneshiro during the impeachment process. The vote followed the advice of the city’s corporation counsel.

The council members apparently didn’t see a conflict with taking that advice from city attorneys, despite the fact the their leader, Donna Leong, also got a target letter from the DOJ in connection with the same federal investigation.

[Read more: Facing federal probe, city prosecutor rejects calls to step aside, says his office runs ‘effectively’]

The only objection came from Councilman Ikaika Anderson.

“To me, these folks made some conscious decisions to possibly break the law," he said.

Anderson also said he is not convinced that the alleged illegal acts were committed under the scope of Kaneshiro’s official duties.

Other councilmembers voted to approve the measure but with reservations.

“This is not a pleasant decision,” Councilman Ron Menor said, adding the impeachment proceedings relate to Kaneshiro’s management of the office and supervision of the employees and he therefore felt obligated to move forward.

"We understand that many of our constituents understandably are going to object to this arrangement,” Menor said, “But under the requirements of the law the council needs to move forward on this recommendation.”

Kaneshiro’s attorney on the impeachment process is Bill McCorriston, who has represented him before in civil matters.

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