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Ex-Hawaiʻi prosecutor's brother Rudolph Puana found guilty of dealing drugs

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The pain physician brother of a former Hawaiʻi prosecutor imprisoned in a corruption case that also took down her former police chief husband was found guilty Wednesday of prescribing oxycodone to his friends so that they could sell the pills for cash.

After a three-week trial, a jury found Dr. Rudolph Puana, 50, guilty of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and fentanyl, and distribution of oxycodone and fentanyl outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, U.S. prosecutors said.

Some of the money funded cocaine parties with the Big Island doctor, and some of it was used to pay tuition for his friends' children at one of the most expensive private schools in Hawaiʻi, prosecutors said.

“We are, of course, disappointed with the verdict,” Puana's attorney, F. Clinton Broden, said in an email. “Any discussion of an appeal would be premature at this point.”

Puana’s sister, Katherine Kealoha, pleaded guilty in 2019 to using her position as a deputy prosecutor to protect him from a drug-dealing investigation.

She entered the plea after a jury found her and her now-estranged husband guilty of conspiracy in a separate case alleging they plotted to frame a relative to keep him from revealing the fraud that financed their lavish lifestyle.

She is serving a 13-year prison sentence and her husband, Louis Kealoha, is serving a seven-year sentence.

A judge ordered Puana into custody immediately after the verdict. Jurors deliberated for less than a day.

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