Keith Kaneshiro not running for re-election amid federal probe, his attorney says

Updated: Sep. 4, 2019 at 8:41 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Embattled Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro will not campaign for re-election next year, ending a total of 16 years in that office.

“He doesn’t want to create that distraction about running for re election and then being involved in federal proceedings," said William McCorriston, one of Kaneshiro’s lawyers.

Kaneshiro is getting paid $177,000 a year to stay away from the office as a target of the FBI public corruption scandal that already took down one of his top deputies, Katherine Kealoha.

Also not running for the position, Peter Carlisle, who spent 14 years in that office.

Carlisle is instead throwing his support behind Megan Kau.

Race for Honolulu Prosecutor
Race for Honolulu Prosecutor

Kau, a former deputy prosecutor turned defense attorney, has made a name for herself as a fierce fighter for clients and a staunch critic of Kaneshiro.

Kau has no experience as a politician. She said she was prompted to campaign because of the federal investigation and the desire to bring new ideas to the office.

Running against Kau, another former deputy prosecutor, RJ Brown.

Brown, currently a civil litigator, is also not a politician and says he was also prompted to join the race because of current criminal allegations against Kaneshiro’s office.

Brown also said he believes the office is in desperate need of younger leadership.

“Basically two guys running that office between Peter Carlisle and Keith Kaneshiro for 30 years and this is the time for change," he said.

Retired judge and one-time United States Attorney Steve Alm is expected to join the field, too. Alm tells Hawaii News Now he is strongly considering it but declined further comment.

Retired Judge Steve Alm
Retired Judge Steve Alm

“He’s very objective," Kau says of Alm. "He’s very competent. He’s got a great reputation. But that office needs energy. It needs a new face. It needs a new attitude.”

Brown echoed those statements, “Steve Alm has been around for a long time, just like Peter Carlisle, just like Keith Kaneshiro and they’ve been doing it a certain way for a long time and that way hasn’t worked."

Acting Honolulu Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto, has not filed paperwork to run for the office he is currently running while his boss is on paid leave.

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