Honolulu prosecutor given 20 days to respond to order seeking his suspension

Honolulu prosecutor given 20 days to respond to order seeking his suspension
City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is the target of a federal public corruption investigation. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro has been given 20 days to respond to a petition by the state Attorney General that calls for his immediate suspension, it was announced Friday.

The petition for extraordinary writ, which was filed with the Hawaii Supreme Court on Tuesday, says that Keith Kaneshiro cannot be allowed to continue in his role ― at least for now ― given his serious conflicts of interest as the target of a federal probe.

In the document, state Attorney General Clare Connors wrote that Kaneshiro’s refusal to step aside ― despite ongoing investigation ― “has subjected every case being handled by the Honolulu Department of Prosecuting Attorney to potential ethical and legal challenges.”

Court documents filed Friday give Kaneshiro until March 7 to respond to the petition.

In a one-line statement issued Tuesday afternoon, hours after the petition was filed, Kaneshiro’s office said the prosecutor was “reviewing the petition" and had nothing more to say.

Kaneshiro’s attorney, Bill McCorriston, later said in a news conference that Kaneshiro has done nothing wrong and would not be resigning or stepping aside.

McCorriston did, however, confirm for the first time publicly that Kaneshiro had received a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice, which informed him that he was a focus of a public corruption probe.

Kaneshiro is also facing impeachment proceedings ― a process that was started after he received the federal target letter. That investigation has already netted lengthy indictments against ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, a former top-ranking deputy in Kaneshiro’s office. Both have federal trials scheduled for this year.

This story will be updated.

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