Details to be worked out over who pays for ex-chief’s lawyer

HONOLULU — Retired Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha says he wants to stick with the federal taxpayer-funded lawyer who’s been representing him on corruption-related charges.

Kealoha swore in court Friday he’s satisfied with his attorney, Rustam Barbee. Kealoha and his wife, former prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, received taxpayer-funded attorneys when they said they couldn’t afford to hire lawyers.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright called for the hearing after learning the Honolulu Police Commission approved a request for a city-funded attorney to represent the ex-chief in a case focusing on allegations the Kealohas used police resources to frame a relative.

It’s unclear whether the commission’s decision allows the city to reimburse the federal government for Barbee’s work. Seabright says he won’t allow the city to decide who represents Kealoha.


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