Judge dismisses obstruction case against Kealoha conspiracy victim

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Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 12:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A federal judge has granted a motion to drop all charges against a man who was coerced into lying to a grand jury during the Kealoha conspiracy investigation after prosecutors said his continued prosecution ‘would not serve the interests of justice.’

Ransen Taito became entangled in the conspiracy involving former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha when he was just 11 years old. After Taito and his sister were awarded nearly $84,000 as part of a medical malpractice settlement, Kealoha was appointed by the state to oversee trust accounts that were established for both of them.

Kealoha has since been found guilty of a slew of crimes, including, as the motion filed Monday points out: “Rather than protecting the assets as trustee, Kealoha used her power and authority over the accounts to misappropriate the funds to her personal benefit.”

Kealoha, unbeknownst to the Taitos, depleted the funds in that account for her own use, prosecutors said.

During the grand jury investigation into Kealoha and her husband, former Honolulu Chief of Police Louis Kealoha, Taito was accused of providing false information during his testimony.

Taito later testified that before he went before the grand jury, Kealoha falsely told him that his mother could go to jail if he told the truth about the money from the trust accounts.

Taito eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice in relation to the false testimony he gave to the grand jury.

U.S. Judge Michael Seabright granted the motion on Monday and dismissed the case.

An attorney for Taito says Judge Seabright made the right move.

“These young people had no choice but to do what they did,” said Michael Green. “I think the government did what they should’ve done all along and they moved to dismiss this case, and that’s what should’ve been done.”

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