Prosecutors portray Big Island doctor as addict who sought protection from powerful sister

Prosecutors portrayed Big Island doctor Rudy Puana as an addict who went on drug binges with his friends and sought protection from his sister.
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 6:06 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 1, 2022 at 6:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - On the second day of his federal trial, prosecutors portrayed Big Island doctor Rudy Puana as an addict who went on drug binges with his friends and sought protection from his sister ― Katherine Kealoha, once a powerful city prosecutor.

Prosecutors also called a key person in Puana’s inner circle to the witness stand Friday.

Christopher McKinney testified about illegal and prescription drugs the two would use together. McKinney said Puana supplied him with Oxycodone, Xanax, Ambien and he detailed a trip to Thailand with girls, cocaine and alcohol.

McKinney said he loved Puana “like a brother” and their friendship stretched back many years.

Chris McKinney
Chris McKinney(None)

On the witness stand, McKinney also discussed a YouTube video from 2015 in which he discussed the book he wrote about Puana’s life, called “The Red-headed Hawaiian.” Puana was also in the video.

“We were always super good friends,” McKinney said, during the interview before rubbing his nose.

In fact, he rubbed his nose several times in just a matter of seconds.

And on Friday, he said that was because both he and Puana had just snorted cocaine.

McKinney said their long, close, personal relationship ended shortly after McKinney was called to testify before the federal grand jury that indicted Puana on drug charges.

In another shocking revelation: McKinney told the court he would do cocaine and other drugs with Puana’s sister, Katherine Kealoha, the former deputy prosecutor now in prison.

He said she even fixed a DUI for him in 2015 just as trial was about to begin.

An audio recording of that hearing was obtained exclusively by Hawaii News Now.

“Your honor the state would request to remove this case from the calendar,” said then deputy Prosecutor Justin Tsai. McKinney said Kealoha strolled into the courtroom and ordered the younger deputy prosecutor ― Tsai ― to get the case dismissed.

McKinney also said Kealoha misdirected law enforcement on a major drug investigation so that he wouldn’t be connected to the case. McKinney told the court that Kealoha, who was the lead prosecutor on the case, called him a “confidential informant” so he would be protected.

That bust at a McCully home resulted in the arrest of an HPD officer and his girlfriend, Tiffany Masunaga, a suspected drug dealer. Inside, police found cocaine, marijuana and hydrocodone, alprazolam and more than 100 patches of the fentanyl, which traced back to Puana.

McKinney will be back on the stand next Thursday for cross examination.

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