Kaneshiro Impeachment Petition Hearing Date Set

Feb 14, 2019

Tracy Yoshimura (right) with his attorney Keith Kiuchi (left) spoke outside a state courtroom following a hearing on Yoshimura's petition to impeach city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.
Credit Casey Harlow

A community effort to impeach Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is scheduled to be heard in court next month.

An online petition to remove Kaneshiro started last year after multiple media reports suggested he received a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with a public corruption probe.

The petition is led by Tracy Yoshimura, who collected 900 signatures on Change.org. After city officials requested additional information about the people who signed the petition, Yoshimura said he's getting signatures the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper, to ensure the names are certified.

Yoshimura said having Kaneshiro remain in office jeopardizes a number of legal cases.

The new date for the impeachment petition hearing is March 8.

Bill McCorriston, an attorney representing Kaneshiro, said Yoshimura's petition has some false information. He did not elaborate.

Kaneshiro didn't attend today's hearing on Yoshimura's petition. The judge set another hearing for next month, after the City Council takes up a recommendation to hire McCorriston's firm to represent Kaneshiro.

Hawaii's attorney general has filed a separate petition asking the state Supreme Court to suspend Kaneshiro from practicing law. McCorriston has said that petition is based on speculation and media reports. He said there's no dysfunction in Kaneshiro's office.

Earlier this week, the state Attorney General Clare Connors filed a separate petition asking the state Supreme Court to suspend Kaneshiro while he remains a reported target of the federal probe.

The Justice Department's corruption investigation has already resulted in indictments against former deputy city prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her now-retired police chief husband, Louis Kealoha. They have pleaded not guilty.

Opening statements in the trial of the couple and current and former officers are scheduled for April 1.

A separate indictment accuses Katherine Kealoha of using her position to cover up that she was dealing opioids with her brother Rudolph Puana, a pain doctor. The siblings pleaded not guilty to a 54-count indictment and were released on bond.

Yoshimura, who owns a consulting firm, was a defendant in failed gambling cases prosecuted by Katherine Kealoha.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. An earlier version of this story misspelled the first name of state Attorney General Clare Connors.