Mansho Sentenced To Year In Jail

Published: Jun. 26, 2002 at 8:24 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 12, 2011 at 6:42 PM HST
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Former Honolulu City Councilwoman Rene Mansho is going to jail. She was sentenced today after pleading guilty to felony theft charges back in April.

Mansho will spend the next year behind bars after pleading guilty to two counts of theft. On hand to witness today's events at circuit court were former Mansho staff members who gave prosecutors the evidence they needed.

They were once used by a councilwoman to break State elections laws - now they shared hugs of relief.

"While it's a very sad day for Rene's family. I believe justice has been served," said Michelle Kidani, former Mansho staffer.

Rene Mansho constantly dabbed tears from her eyes as attorney's argued over her fate. Finally - she spoke about her guilty plea to charges of theft.

"It was wrong, it was my fault and I take full responsibility," said Rene Mansho.

For years, Mansho directed her council staff to work on her re-election campaigns while on city time - a violation of state law.

"I rationalized the mixing of these activities by believing my office and campaign were always serving the community."

Circuit Judge Dan Kochi listened but ultimately sentenced Mansho to one year in prison and five years probation.

"There has been a serious breach of trust in the office for which she was elected and she must be held accountable," said Judge Kochi.

Mansho appeared stunned when she learned that she would serve time in prison - although prosecutors expected nothing less.

"I think her claim that she's sorry was something that was added on. I don't think there was much sincerity in it. I think she's sorry that she was caught," said Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Takata.

Although Mansho is headed to prison - her former staffers still feel betrayed by the woman they once followed.

"She still is not accepting the full responsibility and attempting to put the blame back on us."

Mansho has already paid back 40,000 dollars to the city for misuse of city staff time. She agreed to pay an additional 25,000 dollars in restitution.