Feds want ex-prosecutor guilty of conspiracy locked up

  • Former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, center left, and husband, former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha, center right, walk toward Queen Street after the verdict in their corruption case at federal court Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Honolulu. A jury has found the former Honolulu prosecutor and her now-retired police chief husband guilty in a plot to frame a relative to silence him from revealing fraud that financed their lavish lifestyle, a case that shook the top levels of law enforcement. (Cindy Ellen Russell/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)

HONOLULU — A former Honolulu deputy prosecutor should be jailed until she is formally sentenced in October now that she has been convicted of conspiracy in a plot to frame a relative, U.S. prosecutors say.

Katherine Kealoha and her now-retired police chief husband Louis Kealoha were convicted Thursday of conspiracy after a trial where federal prosecutors told jurors the couple abused their power to frame her uncle. They said their motive was to keep him from revealing fraud that enriched their lavish life and to maintain their power and prestige.

She “lies as easily as she draws breath,” and will do anything to avoid consequences, federal prosecutors said in court documents.

The burden is on her to convince a judge she’s not likely to flee or pose a danger to anyone, prosecutors said: “When a defendant has been found guilty, detention is the rule, not the exception.”

Jurors also found Louis Kealoha, Lt. Derek Hahn and Officer Bobby Nguyen guilty of conspiracy. Prosecutors don’t oppose allowing them remain free on bond. The jury acquitted retired major Gordon Shiraishi.

During the trial that began in May, prosecutors portrayed Katherine Kealoha as the mastermind of the conspiracy. She invented an alias Alison Lee Wong to forge documents and tampered with a grand jury witness’ testimony, prosecutors said.

She’s also facing another trial with her husband on bank fraud and identity theft for allegations she bilked relatives and children whose trusts she controlled. There’s also a third trial in a separate indictment accusing her of dealing opioids with her pain physician brother.

Prosecutors also called her a “chronic malingerer,” saying she has a history of feigning “medical ailments to avoid accountability for her actions.”

Her defense attorney, Cynthia Kagiwada, declined to comment before Friday’s hearing.

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