© 2023 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jury trial decided for 3 ex-Honolulu officials in Kealoha chief payout case

FILE - Former Police Commissioner Max Sword (right) in 2017.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
FILE - Former Police Commissioner Max Sword (right) in 2017.

HONOLULU — Three indicted former Honolulu officials will be tried by a jury on allegations they conspired to hide the source of public funds used to get a police chief to retire during a corruption investigation.

Attorneys for the three requested a trial before a judge, but prosecutors objected.

A judge said the case will proceed with a jury trial, according to court minutes of a hearing last week.

CC of Honolulu
City and County of Honolulu
FILE - Roy Amemiya

Roy Amemiya, the city’s former managing director; Donna Leong, the city’s former top civil attorney; and Max Sword, who led the Honolulu Police Commission from 2016 to 2018, surrendered to the FBI in January.

According to an indictment, the trio arranged for ex-chief Louis Kealoha’s $250,000 payout in 2017. They arranged to use police department funds allocated for salaries to circumvent approval from the City Council, the indictment said.

They pleaded not guilty.

Their attorneys didn't immediately respond to an email Wednesday seeking comment on having a jury instead of a judge decide the case.

Prosecutors said the U.S. Constitution established that jury trials are preferred in criminal cases.

Kealoha and his wife Katherine Kealoha, a former Honolulu prosecutor, are in prison after a jury convicted them of conspiracy for framing a relative to keep him from revealing fraud that financed their lavish lifestyle.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. Founded in 1846, AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
Related Stories