Despite corruption allegations against her, police chief's wife remains on the job

What's next for Deputy City Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha after husband steps down
Updated: Dec. 21, 2016 at 6:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The day after Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha took leave amid a growing public corruption case, his wife remains on the job as a deputy city prosecutor.

That's despite the fact that Katherine Kealoha has been linked to the widening federal investigation.

In fact, the central question of the investigation is whether Kealoha abused the power of the city Prosecutor's Office -- and close relationships with police officers -- for her personal aims.

Some say Kealoha, like her husband, should temporarily step aside.

Others avoid the question.

"I would prefer not to comment," said city Managing Director and acting Mayor Roy Amemiya.

Federal investigators are looking into whether Katherine Kealoha lied to a judge to help her electrician get out of a speeding ticket and try to prevent the arrest of another friend after he ditched police.

Defense attorney Michael Green said the allegations against Kealoha are "very serious."

"When you start talking about corruption in our courts and special favors, and maybe lying or misleading judges to get special favors for people, that's extremely serious. It goes right to the heart of our justice system," he said.

Steven Levinson, a former Supreme Court justice and a member of the Honolulu Police Commission, says the Office of Disciplinary Counsel should also be looking into the case. The office has the authority to disbar attorneys.

"I think that office would have a great interest in the conduct of the deputy prosecuting attorney in this case," he said.

Meanwhile, city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro continues to stand by his deputy, saying there is no evidence that Kealoha committed a crime. Sources say he fought investigators over her personnel records and he has publicly defended the dismissed speeding ticket.

"It was not Katherine Kealoha alone. It was a decision of this office. It was a plea agreement signed by me," Kaneshiro told Hawaii News Now in October.

The conflicting stories over the speeding ticket could mean that Kaneshiro may now be embroiled in the investigation himself.

"I don't know everything they have," Green said. "But my experience tells me, before they go after a sitting city prosecutor, if that's what they're planning, they better have a hell of a case."

Keith Kaneshiro declined a request for an interview Wednesday.

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