Trial of former HPD officer delayed as more info tied to Kealoha is sought
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -The swirling Katherine Kealoha scandal leads to another delay in the DUI trial of former Honolulu Police Sergeant, Albert Lee.
Lee’s trial was supposed to start this week but is on hold indefinitely while his attorney awaits cooperation from the city prosecutor’s office, where Kealoha was once a high ranking deputy.
Circuit Court Judge Edward Kubo has expressed concern on several occasions, and most recently revealed that an investigative grand jury was impaneled by Kealoha’s Career Criminal Unit, even though this was a misdemeanor DUI case.
“I have the investigative grand jury transcripts," Judge Kubo said in a hearing this month, "I had to do my own research to find the date and find the transcripts and order it, because the state wouldn’t even give me the date.”
The date of that investigative grand jury, September 26, 2017, was ten months after Albert Lee’s vehicle crashed into a Hawaiian Electric Company structure.
Lee was found in the passenger’s seat and said he didn’t remember who was driving him home because he fell asleep.
Lee’s attorney claims vindictive prosecution by the city prosecutor’s office because Lee was an FBI witness against Kealoha at the time. The federal grand jury since indicted her for dozens of crimes related to a massive public corruption scandal.
Lee’s role as a federal witness stems from an arrest that Kealoha allegedly tried to block in 2015.
Lee and another police officer, Jared Spiker, were trying to find and arrest Honolulu businessman and convicted felon, Mike Miske, for an outstanding warrant.
While searching for Miske, they say he called them, a conversation that was recorded by the officers.
That recording was submitted as evidence Monday, but Hawaii News Now aired it back in February.
“Don’t go to my place of business and act a fool," Miske said. After a few back and forth statements Miske can be heard, “Listen, I going go to the top of the food chain. Trust me. Jared Spiker.”
Officer Spiker says, Katherine Kealoha -- one of the highest ranking deputy prosecutors at the time -- later called him, ordering the officers to back off of Miske.
An order he and Albert Lee ignored.
Miske was arrested and has since pleaded “no contest" for the traffic crime.
Two years after that conversation, Kealoha’s unit, empaneled the state grand jury.
Judge Kubo told deputy prosecutor, Randy Oyama, who worked under Kealoha in the Career Criminal Unit that he read the transcripts of the investigative grand jury for Albert Lee. Kubo told Oyama that the office couldn’t seem to prove that Lee was driving the car but moved forward anyway with the proceeding, “Calling numerous witnesses, five witnesses, with questions which this court, could interpret as brow beating." Judge Kubo paused before he said, "Something stinks in this case.”
While the trial has been delayed, there is a hearing set for next month.
Also next month, Kealoha, her husband Louis Kealoha -- the ex police chief -- and three other HPD officers are scheduled for federal trial on charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
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