Judge denies Kenoi's request for acquittal on felony theft charges

Judge denies Kenoi’s request for acquittal on felony theft charges

HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - A judge has denied Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi's motion for an acquittal on felony theft charges, but did throw out Monday three misdemeanor counts related to tampering with a government record.

The decision came on the same day that the state rested its case against Kenoi.

Before calling their own witnesses Monday afternoon, Kenoi's attorneys filed a motion for acquittal, arguing that prosecutors failed to present adequate evidence for the charges against the mayor.

While Judge Dexter Del Rosario dismissed three misdemeanor counts of tampering with a government record, he denied the defense team's request to drop five other charges, including two counts of felony theft, two counts of third-degree theft, and making a false statement under oath.

The trial over Kenoi's misuse of a government credit card kicked off last week.

Prosecutors allege Kenoi had no intention of paying the county back for alcohol and other unauthorized purchases he made on his government purchasing card. But the defense has said Kenoi reimbursed the county for the purchases, and is guilty of bad judgment not criminal intent.

Closing arguments are expected on Oct. 31.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.