More officers facing charges in federal investigation of HPD chief, wife

More officers facing charges in federal investigation of HPD chief, wife (Sunrise package)
Published: Sep. 6, 2016 at 8:29 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 7, 2016 at 1:18 AM HST
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Katherine Kealoha (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Katherine Kealoha (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A major development in the federal case against Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his deputy prosecutor wife could mean a grand jury indictment is close, legal experts say.

According to sources, federal "target letters" have gone out to several people connected to the chief and his wife, Katherine Kealoha.

"When you become a target, you're being told that you've committed a crime, and they're investigating you and they want you to come in and talk to them," said attorney William Harrison, represents one of those who received a target letter.

"It's very serious," he said, adding that he's made contact with the federal prosecutor and the FBI agents handling the case.

Ken Lawson, of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson Law School, said "everybody involved" in the case should be "extremely concerned."

"When the feds come with a target letter, they got evidence against your client," he said.

Lawson said the letters show the FBI is casting a wider net, and that there are multiple suspects.

He also said this is a sign that grand jury proceedings, which have lasted almost 10 months, could be winding down.

The federal grand jury will decide if the Kealohas should face trial for public corruption and civil rights violations connected to a bitter family dispute over money.

"It's pick a side cause we trying to be fair, but you get on the wrong side, this going come," Lawson said.

Both attorneys say it's unlikely that the Kealohas will get their own target letters. Usually, the main targets in a probe don't.

But both attorneys agree the Kealohas should now be concerned.

"When the federal government seeks an indictment they want to make sure they've crossed every 't' and dotted every 'i', they want a tight indictment," Harrison said.

The Honolulu Police Department declined comment for this story. One of the attorneys representing the Kealohas, Myles Breiner, also declined.

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