UH law instructor under fire for speaking to media about Kealoha corruption case

Updated: Mar. 31, 2019 at 10:14 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A University of Hawaii law school instructor is under fire for his comments on the former Honolulu police chief’s public corruption case.

The defense attorney for Louis Kealoha says the school should fire the employee if he continues to make statements to the media about the proceedings.

Shortly after Hawaii News Now reported on a six-page letter sent to UH Law School Dean Avi Soifer from defense attorney Rustam Barbee, associate faculty specialist Ken Lawson is speaking out.

Lawson was targeted in the letter after Barbee urged the university to prevent Lawson from speaking to the media about matters relating to the Kealoha case.

“Whenever someone doesn’t do something they like, (there) comes these threats and I’m not the one to be threatened,” Lawson said Saturday.

Barbee claims that Lawson is making comments that improperly cast Kealoha as guilty before the trial even starts.

Kealoha’s attorney adds that it’s disturbing, considering Lawson is co-director of the school’s Innocence Project — which works to exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals.

But Lawson, who has provided a legal breakdown of the case to HNN in the past, is standing by his comments.

“If you look at MSNBC, Fox News, CNBC, ABC, CBS — there are law professors that comment on ongoing cases all the time. That’s what we do. We’re given a set of facts, we apply the legal knowledge and experience that we have to better help community understand exactly whats going on,” Lawson said.

Barbee declined our request for an interview on this story.

Lawson says he will continue to comment on the case if there are media requests.

To read the full letter sent to the law school, click here.

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