Defendants, attorney, alleged victims: Here’s who’s who in the Kealoha mailbox trial

Defendants, attorney, alleged victims: Here’s who’s who in the Kealoha mailbox trial
In the mailbox trial, the Kealohas and three officers are accused of public corruption. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The so-called federal “mailbox trial” against the Kealohas and several police officers begins Wednesday.

It’s the most important public corruption trial the state has ever seen.

And it pits members of the law enforcement community against one another.

Here are the players involved:

The Judge

― J. Michael Seabright: Chief U.S. District Court judge for the District of Hawaii

Seabright was in private practice from 1984 to 1987, served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1987 through 2005 and was also an adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii School of Law.

He was nominated to the federal bench in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

The Defense Attorneys

― Cynthia Kagiwada: Attorney for Katherine Kealoha

Kagiwada specializes in the appellate courts, but also has experience in criminal defense.

― Rustam Barbee: Attorney for Louis Kealoha

Barbee, who has his own firm, has been a criminal defense attorney in Hawaii since 1989.

― Randall Hironaka: Attorney for Officer Bobby Nguyen

He’s served as a criminal defense attorney for a number of years, including in high-profile cases.

― Birney Bervar: Attorney for Lt. Derek Hahn

Bervar is a criminal defense attorney and was previously an assistant federal public defender.

― Lars Isaacson: Attorney for Maj. Gordon Shiraishi

Isaacson is a criminal defense attorney with his own law firm.

The Federal Prosecutors

― Michael Wheat: Special prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego

Wheat has worked as a prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice for more than three decades. While he’s handled all kinds of criminal cases, his specialty is public corruption.

― Colin McDonald and Janaki Gandhi: Assistant US Attorneys

The Defendants

― Louis Kealoha: Honolulu’s ex-police chief

― Katherine Kealoha: A former high-ranking deputy city prosecutor

― Maj. Gordon Shiraishi, who was in charge of the Honolulu Police Department’s elite Criminal Intelligence Unit

― Lt. Derek Hahn, who was also a business partner with Katherine Kealoha in a solar company

― Officer Bobby Nguyen, who was related by marriage to Katherine Kealoha, and was also living in the Kealohas’ pool house when the couple’s mailbox was reported stolen.

The Government’s Witnesses

― Florence Puana: Katherine Kealoha’s 99-year-old grandmother

― Gerard Puana: Kealoha’s uncle and the man the government alleges the Kealohas tried to frame with the mailbox theft

Officer Danny Sellers, Katherine Kealoha’s ex-boyfriend, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor crime for distributing confidential investigative information about the mailbox theft to Katherine Kealoha.

― And Officer Niall Silva, who admitted to lying to federal agents and to the FBI as part of the conspiracy.

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