HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite incredible amounts of publicity, lawyers in the Kealoha trial say they are confident they will have an impartial jury ― perhaps faster than expected.
Of the 413 prospective jurors called to fill out questionnaires at the Blaisdell Center on Monday, only about 170 were eliminated for various issues.
Jurors were eliminated for a number of reasons, including connections to the parties, inability to be fair, or language or health issues.
The remaining 250 or so will be called in for individual questioning beginning Friday until 12 jurors and four alternates are seated.
The so-called “mailbox trial” could then begin late next week.
In it, former deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, her husband Louis ― the ex-police chief ― and several officers are accused of allegedly framing a Kealoha relative with a federal crime.
That crime? The theft of the Kealohas’ mailbox.
The government says the group wanted to frame Gerard Puana, Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, with the crime because of an apparent family feud over money.
This is the first of three federal trials for Katherine Kealoha.
The second trial for Katherine and Louis Kealoha involves financial fraud and identity theft charges and is expected to start later this year.
Katherine’s third trial will follow. She and her brother, Dr. Rudy Puana, are accused of drug and gun crimes.