HPD searching for missing evidence related to public corruption investigation

HPD searching for missing evidence related to public corruption investigation
Published: Jul. 16, 2018 at 7:41 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 16, 2018 at 8:22 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police are searching for missing evidence relating to the FBI's massive corruption case against the Kealohas.

Last week, Attorney Christopher Woo reported to HPD that his cell phone and laptop were stolen from his Alewa Heights home, just days after Woo got a subpoena to testify before the federal grand jury this week.

He was told to bring the devices with him.

Woo was one of the attorneys for Jesse Ebersole, the Hawaii County Fire Battalion Chief who pleaded guilty to lying to the grand jury about his affair with Katherine Kealoha.

The deputy prosecutor and her husband, former HPD Chief Louis Kealoha, were indicted on multiple charges of identity theft, fraud, conspiracy and other crimes.  Their first trial is set for later this year.

According to Ebersole, Mrs. Kealoha arranged for Woo to be his attorney at the grand jury.

Ebersole also told the judge, that Mrs. Kealoha coached him on how to lie about their romantic relationship and that the coaching session happened at Woo's office and home.

Hawaii News Now was there when Woo was arrested last month for failing to appear before the grand jury. He was released on bond and ordered to appear this Thursday.

HNN noticed multiple surveillance cameras at his home during the arrest. Woo told HPD the cameras are for live feeds only, and that they do not record images.

Woo is blaming a former roommate, a 35-year old man, and the man's 23-year-old girlfriend, for the theft of his phone and laptop, saying he was hosting a party on July 8, when he saw the woman leave with his cellphone.

Woo said he went after her, and that's when the the former roommate and several other men, who he did not know, took off with his laptop.

Ken Lawson, of the University of Hawaii's William S. Richardson School of Law, says the claims are suspicious.

"I mean, It may have happened the way he said, that somehow, after the subpoena came through, 'lo and behold all of my stuff got stolen," Lawson said.

Lawson says it sounds like a tactic many of his past defendants have tried.

"When are people going to learn, that this is not the type of case you want to play around with?," Lawson said.

Lawson, who not only has experience defending clients in federal cases, but also being a defendant himself, says the FBI probably doesn't really need the devices anyway.

"Based on my experience, I don't believe they would have subpoenaed the evidence to the grand jury if it was their only source of evidence," Lawson said.

"If it was the only source of evidence of a crime, normally law enforcement would then do a 'no knock' search warrant to obtain the evidence. That way you have no idea they're coming so you won't be trying to destroy it," Lawson said.

HPD is still investigating the reported theft and searching for the suspects, who are both convicted criminals seen driving Woo's Toyota SUV.

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