Taxpayer-funded lawyer leaves Hawaii corruption case

HONOLULU — A judge is allowing a taxpayer-funded defense attorney to part ways with her client, a former prosecutor convicted of conspiracy in what’s been described as Hawaii’s biggest corruption case.

Cynthia Kagiwada asked to withdraw as an attorney for Katherine Kealoha, citing a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship. Kealoha was convicted last month along with her retired police chief husband Louis Kealoha in a plot to frame her uncle.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright heard from Kagiwada and Katherine Kealoha behind closed doors Thursday before granting the request. Kagiwada will no longer represent Kealoha for other trials she faces, including one for drug-dealing charges.

Seabright appointed lawyers for the Kealohas after they said they couldn’t afford to pay attorneys. He says he will appoint another attorney to represent her.

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