Kealohas offered plea deals as upcoming trials loom

Kealohas offered plea deals as upcoming trials loom
Ex-Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha walking with his wife, former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Louis and Katherine Kealoha have been offered plea deals to avoid their upcoming trials, and are considering them.

The deadline to respond, however, was Monday and they didn’t meet it.

Katherine Kealoha’s said she wants more time to think about it.

“She hasn’t been able to digest all of it,” Earle Partington said.

Under the proposal, the ex-police chief and ex-deputy prosecutor would have to plead guilty to the financial crimes, including bank fraud and identity theft, that they’re facing in a trial set for January.

Katherine Kealoha would also have to plead guilty to drug crimes ahead of her trial in May.

In return, the Kealohas would get credit for accepting responsibility in the remaining cases, and it’s possible the prosecutors wouldn’t ask for all the enhancements they’re allowed to request at sentencing. Those enhancements in the federal system can dramatically increase prison time, though the judge has the final decision.

The Kealohas were convicted in June of conspiracy and obstruction for setting up a relative they were feuding with. They framed him for the theft of their mailbox because he was about to expose them for stealing from other family members.

The court is recommending 11 to 14 years behind bars for Katherine Kealoha when she’s sentenced on Oct. 11 in connection with that first trail

For Louis Kealoha, the recommendation is slightly less. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 15.

Ken Lawson, of the University of Hawaii law school, said the mailbox trial was the most difficult for prosecutors because it relied on circumstantial evidence.

“Those other cases are easier to prove and they carry more time,” Lawson said, about the financial trial and drug case. "Not only can it run longer but can run consecutive to this one because this is a separate crime period.”

Lawson said if the Kealohas are found guilty in the remaining trials, it could mean decades in prison.

Both the Kealohas have court-appointed attorneys and two more trials would also cost taxpayers a significant amount in legal fees.

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