Citing ‘egregious’ fraud,' judge OKs request for new civil trial against Katherine Kealoha

Citing ‘egregious’ fraud,' judge OKs request for new civil trial against Katherine Kealoha
Katherine Kealoha walks into the federal courthouse in Honolulu for a hearing in 2019. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Disgraced former deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha has lost another major courtroom battle.

A state judge ruled Tuesday that a new civil lawsuit against Kealoha ― filed by her grandmother Florence Puana and uncle Gerard Puana ― can move forward.

The civil case, which centers around an allegation that Kealoha stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Puanas, was first tried 2015.

Katherine Kealoha won that case, and Florence and Gerard Puana were ordered to pay $658,000.

But a state judge ruled in September was tainted by fraud.

And Circuit Judge James McWhinnie subsequently ordered that a motion for a new trial be granted.

“Here, the plaintiffs have presented evidence that has been clear and convincing that there have been misrepresentations and fraud,” McWhinnie wrote.

“It is especially egregious that the defendant Katherine Kealoha was an officer of the court.”

In their motion for a new civil trial, lawyers for the Puana family claimed Kealoha was found guilty in a federal public corruption case because she committed fraud in state court in order to win the civil trial.

Federal prosecutors said Kealoha lied on the stand and used forged documents notarized by a fictitious person named Alison Lee Wong to win the case. And lawyers for the Puana family used evidence from the federal case their motion requesting a new trial.

A date for the new trial has not yet been set.

This story will be updated.

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