Deadline approaches for Kaneshiro to respond to petition calling for his suspension

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is the target of a federal public corruption investigation....
City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is the target of a federal public corruption investigation. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Mar. 6, 2019 at 4:47 PM HST
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(HawaiiNewsNow) - The deadline for Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro to respond to a petition calling for his immediate suspension is rapidly approaching.

19 days ago, state Attorney General Clare Connors filed a petition for extraordinary with the Hawaii Supreme Court, writing that Kaneshiro should not be allowed to serve as city prosecutor ― at least for the time being ― given his serious conflicts of interest as the target of a federal probe.

The Supreme Court ordered Kaneshiro to respond to the petition within 20 days, giving him until midnight Thursday night to defend himself.

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

[Read more: Taxpayers to cover legal fees for embattled city prosecutor to fight impeachment]

[Read more: Women say city prosecutor retaliated against them for testifying in corruption probe]

In a one-line statement issued, hours after the petition was filed, Kaneshiro’s office said the prosecutor was “reviewing the petition" and would have nothing more to say. Kaneshiro’s attorney, Bill McCorriston, later said in a news conference that Kaneshiro had done nothing wrong and would not be resigning or stepping aside.

The attorney did, however, publicly confirm for the first time that Kaneshiro had received a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice informing him that he was a focus of a public corruption investigation.

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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