Retired judge testifies at grand jury hearing evidence against prosecutor’s office

Published: Aug. 14, 2019 at 6:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A retired district court judge was called before a federal grand jury last week to testify in an ongoing probe into the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office.

Retired District Court Judge David Lo spent more than two hours inside the grand jury room before being wheeled out by an FBI agent.

The judge’s appearance is evidence that special investigators are still pursuing city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, who is on paid leave.

Retired District Court Judge David Lo testifies before the federal grand jury investigating...
Retired District Court Judge David Lo testifies before the federal grand jury investigating Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro

In 2015, Lo presided over a DUI case involving author Chris McKinney, a close friend of former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.

Lo dismissed the DUI apparently after Kealoha told the court that McKinney was part of a larger career criminal case her office was working on.

Kealoha gave the same reason a year earlier when she asked the court to dismiss a speeding ticket for her electrician.

McKinney is listed as co-conspirator no. 1 in a federal indictment charging Kealoha with drug crimes.

Legal expert Victor Bakke says Kealoha, already convicted of obstruction and conspiracy, had a habit of helping her friends and punishing her enemies.

But Bakke believes the judge’s appearance at grand jury proves federal authorities are now focused on her former boss.

"This relates directly back to Kaneshiro because he was the head of that office. Those deputies work directly under him and it’s unquestionable, it’s on tape that they were lying to the court.”

Kaneshiro remains on leave after receiving a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice last year.

“When you bring a judge in and start asking about the conduct of the attorneys appearing before him, that is not a good sign for the system in general,” Bakke said.

An effort to impeach Kaneshiro has hit several snags after Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Crabtree ruled against the use of electronic signatures for the petition.

The organizers are now using social media and the website,, to help collect signatures by hand.

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