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City attorney to help hammer out how process for impeachment petition works

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. 11, 2019 at 1:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Little was accomplished at a court hearing Monday on an impeachment petition filed against embattled city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.

The proceedings came just a few days after Kaneshiro placed himself on paid leave after refusing to do so for months while under a federal investigation.

In the Circuit Court hearing, the issue of how to verify the impeachment petition was discussed, and a meeting between the attorneys and Paul Aoki, acting corporation counsel, will be scheduled to hammer out the verification process.

The impeachment effort is led by Tracy Yoshimura — who Kaneshiro’s office unsuccessfully prosecuted twice for distributing game machines.

Yoshimura says he will be filing an amended impeachment petition this month.

After collecting 900 signatures online, Yoshimura’s attorney, Keith Kiuchi, says it was unclear if the city would accept electronic signatures.

“We couldn’t get that answer,” said Kiuchi. “What we decided to do, so there was no issue, no questions raised, is go about it the old fashioned way. We got hard signatures on hard petitions.”

Kaneshiro’s attorney, Bill McCorriston, says he believes Yoshimura is amending the petition because it was full of false claims.

“It is faulty,” said McCorriston. “It did have statements under oath supporting the petition which were absolutely untrue. I just don’t think the protocols they used to get the signatures on the petition were subject to any kind of meaningful verification.”

Kiuchi says they have about 200 signatures on paper right now, but he’s confident they’ll collect the 500 needed to continue the process.

The next hearing in the case was set for April 30 at 9 a.m. Kiuchi says the judge blocked off most of the day so there may be a chance evidence in the impeachment case will be presented.

On Friday, the City Council approved $75,000 to fund Kaneshiro’s legal defense in the impeachment case with taxpayer dollars.

City Council members said they had no choice but to do so, based on the legal advice they were given.

Kaneshiro’s impeachment proceedings began after he received a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice, which informed him that he was a focus of a public corruption probe.

That fact prompted many in the legal community to call for him to step down.

Since Kaneshiro is an elected official, impeachment is one of a very few ways that he could be removed from office.

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