HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Almost a year after a federal grand jury started hearing testimony against Honolulu's police chief and his wife, the alleged victim in the case walked into the federal courthouse Thursday afternoon.
Gerard Puana's appearance before a federal grand jury is a significant development in the case, experts say.
Puana is the person who first accused Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his deputy prosecutor wife, Katherine, of violating his rights. His allegations eventually launched an FBI investigation into the couple's actions.
Puana is Katherine Kealoha's uncle, and the two were embroiled in a bitter family feud over money. The Kealohas won a civil suit connected to the feud, but the case didn't end there.
Puana has alleged that the Kealohas used the Honolulu Police Department to frame him for a theft while the financial dispute was pending in court.
All of his complaints now appear to be before the federal grand jury, which will decide if the police chief and his wife should face trial.
"If he's being called (to testify) that's a serious sign because that's how this whole thing started," says attorney Victor Bakke, who is not involved in the case.
Meanwhile, Hawaii News Now has learned of a new twist in the case: Prosecutors might be looking into other allegations against Katherine Kealoha.
A brother and sister, both relatives of Kealoha, were at the federal courthouse on a previous grand jury day.
Court documents show their family got a malpractice settlement years ago, when they were still children, and that tens of thousands of dollars were put in a trust fund. The documents show Kealoha petitioned to be the trustee until they became adults, when the money was supposed to be turned over to them. Their appearances at federal court shows the FBI is also looking into that trust.
"What you're starting to see is a pattern here," Bakke said. "Using her professional status whether it's as a private attorney or a deputy prosecutor to influence other people."
Myles Breiner, the attorney for the Kealohas, did not respond to a request for comment.