FBI searches homes of former police chief, his wife amid criminal probe
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - FBI investigators executed search warrants at homes belonging to former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his deputy prosecutor wife on Wednesday morning, Hawaii News Now has learned.
It's the latest turn in a years-long federal investigation into public corruption at some of the highest levels of Oahu's law enforcement.
News of the search came hours after a third Honolulu police officer had been arrested and charged.
Lt. Derek Hahn was taken into custody at around 11 a.m. at his home in Hawaii Kai by FBI agents. The 20-year veteran of the Honolulu Police Department is charged with conspiracy to obstruct.
Hahn is currently assigned to the department's communications division and will be placed on unpaid, administrative leave.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday afternoon, Hahn falsified records and made false statements regarding the alleged 'fake' mailbox theft, taken from the home of the Kealoha's.
During court proceedings on Wednesday, federal prosecutors claimed Hahn "called the shots" on the frame-up of Puana and said Hahn had a direct hand in destroying evidence.
Special prosecutor Janaki Gandhi told the judge Hahn directed another officer to only place into evidence certain portions of the surveillance video that purports to have captured the incident, and that officers within HPD's CIU – of which Hahn was the commanding officer – intentionally copied over the hard drive on which the tape was stored.
Hahn's Attorney, Birney Bervar says his client didn't need to be arrested, saying the prosecutors could have simply called and asked Hahn to turn himself in and appear in court. "The fact that my client was arrested instead of (getting a) summons is an example of the intimidation and the bullying by the government in this investigation, in their attempt to get people to say what the government wants them to say."
Bervar disputes the FBI's argument that the mailbox theft was fake, saying it was a real crime, but one that was poorly investigated by his client and the officers.
"Mistakes and sloppy police work and inaccurate police reports are a daily occurrence in the state courts here in Hawaii," says Bervar, "That doesn't mean there is a criminal conspiracy."
Former HPD Maj. Gordon Shiraishi, 61, and HPD officer Bobby Nguyen, 43, were the first people arrested in connection with the probe, which is linked to the former police chief and his wife, Katherine, a deputy city prosecutor.
Shiraishi has been charged with obstruction of justice, while Nguyen has been charged with conspiracy to obstruct.
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