Target letter chief received aimed at spurring his cooperation

Target letter chief received aimed at spurring his cooperation
Published: Dec. 20, 2016 at 6:37 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 20, 2016 at 6:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police Chief Louis Kealoha is on leave after receiving a target letter as part of an ongoing federal investigation.

But what's a target letter?

Defense attorneys say they're often sent out to entice a person to cooperate by pointing out that they may be charged and could benefit from coming forward to help prosecutors without being forced by a subpoena.

Kealoha's attorney, Myles Breiner, said the letter is aimed at intimidating his client.

"This is all part and parcel of a particular plan of design by the U.S. attorney to frighten people into cooperating," he said.

Briener added Kealoha's target letter was vague and contained no facts of the case.

"It's a form letter. There's no allegations. It specified you are simply the target of an investigation." Briener said. "I've seen this so many times. Basically, what it comes down to is an attempt to get people to cooperate early on when they don't have people cooperating already."

Breiner also confirmed that the chief's wife, who he also represents, has not received a target letter.

That's a bad sign, said attorney Victor Bakke, who is not involved in the case. Katherine Kealoha, a deputy city prosecutor, is alleged to be "deeply involved" in the federal public corruption case, court documents show.

"Because they haven't given Kathy Kealoha a target letter, that kind of says that because they don't have any reason to talk to her, they're gathering information about her and when they have enough they will just indict her," he said.

But Briener said the U.S. attorney will have to seek an indictment without the chief's involvement.

"We intend to fight all the allegations. the Chief is innocent of any wrongdoing," he said. "There's nothing to cooperate about. The chief has done nothing wrong whatsoever. Period."

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