In 5th day of ‘mailbox trial,’ government focuses on pivotal 2011 arrest

In 5th day of ‘mailbox trial,’ government focuses on pivotal 2011 arrest
Louis and Katherine Kealoha walk into the federal courthouse on Wednesday. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Testimony on the fifth day of the public corruption trial against the Kealohas revealed that Katherine Kealoha accused her uncle of being a drug dealer two years before she allegedly tried to frame him with the theft of her mailbox.

Seven witnesses took the stand Wednesday at the federal trial ― and all of them talked about a 2011 arrest of Gerard Puana for walking into a neighbor’s home to yell for someone to move a car.

It was considered unauthorized entry.

But it’s the 71 days he spent in jail for it that the government focused on as they sought to demonstrate the lengths Katherine Kealoha, a former deputy city prosecutor, would go to in a bid to keep her alleged financial crimes hidden.

Deputy Sheriff Tommy Cayetano testified that Kealoha, a longtime friend of his, twice asked him to transport Puana from jail to the courthouse so she could meet with him.

That’s even though Puana didn’t have a court appearance.

When Puana was later discharged from a drug treatment center, Cayetano said Kealoha told him to drive Puana — in a state sheriffs vehicle — back to OCCC even though Puana was out on bail.

“High ranking prosecutor, who is married to the chief of police, these are the people you do favors for right," said Ken Lawson, HNN Legal Analyst, "These are good friends to have when you’re in law enforcment.”

In the so-called “mailbox trial,” former power couple Louis and Katherine Kealoha and three police officers are accused of commanding specialized police units to enforce their personal agenda and seek retribution against those who challenged them.

Katherine Kealoha, her husband ― the former police chief ― and the officers are charged as a group with conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official proceeding, and lying to a federal officer.

Also testifying Wednesday was Gerard Puana’s niece, who said she saw Kealoha and several police officers in Puana’s Wilhelmina Rise home.

In cross-examination, defense attorneys sought to show that Katherine Kealoha was simply trying to help her uncle.

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