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The Latest: Defense gives jury their side in mailbox case

May 23, 2019
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Former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha, right, walks into federal court in Honolulu on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. A trial for what has been described as the biggest corruption case in Hawaii history began Wednesday for Kealoha and his former city prosecutor wife, Katherine Kealoha. The two are accused of conspiring to frame Katherine Kealoha's uncle for a crime he did not commit. The Kealoha's were indicted on charges including conspiracy and obstruction. Federal authorities began investigating the two in 2015 and both stepped down from their jobs as the probe deepened. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)
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Former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha, right, walks into federal court in Honolulu on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. A trial for what has been described as the biggest corruption case in Hawaii history began Wednesday for Kealoha and his former city prosecutor wife, Katherine Kealoha. The two are accused of conspiring to frame Katherine Kealoha's uncle for a crime he did not commit. The Kealoha's were indicted on charges including conspiracy and obstruction. Federal authorities began investigating the two in 2015 and both stepped down from their jobs as the probe deepened. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on a corruption trial against a former Honolulu police chief, his wife and current and former officers (all times local):

3 p.m.

The defense attorney representing the wife of a former Honolulu police chief says what happened to money she allegedly stole from her grandmother and uncle is a misunderstanding in a big family.

Katherine Kealoha, a former deputy Honolulu prosecutor, is on trial with her husband, Louis Kealoha, and former and current officers for allegedly framing her uncle for stealing their mailbox. Prosecutors say the Kealohas wanted to silence him from exposing financial fraud that supported the couple’s lavish lifestyle. It has been described as Hawaii’s biggest corruption scandal.

Louis Kealoha’s attorney, Rustam Barbee, disputes prosecutors’ theory that the mailbox was prepped to be easily lifted from its post. Barbee says just one bolt secured it to a pedestal.

Attorneys for the co-defendants say there was no conspiracy.

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1 p.m.

A prosecutor says a Hawaii corruption case against a former police chief and his wife involves an abuse of power and greed.

Now-retired Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine Kealoha, a former deputy prosecutor, are on trial for allegations they framed her uncle for stealing their mailbox to keep him from exposing financial fraud that supported the couple’s lavish lifestyle.

In opening statements Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat told jurors the case also involves those close to the couple — members of a secret police unit hand-picked by the chief. Those current and former officers are also on trial with the Kealohas.

Wheat spent more than hour laying out a complicated web of planning and scheming by the Kealohas and their co-defendants.

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10:30 a.m.

Jurors have been selected for a closely watched Hawaii corruption trial against a former Honolulu police chief, his wife and current and former officers.

A jury of 12 and five alternates was finalized Wednesday in a process that began last week with 413 prospective jurors.

Opening statements are now expected to begin in the trial against now-retired Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine Kealoha, a former deputy city prosecutor.

Officer Minh Hung “Bobby” Nguyen, Lt. Derek Hahn and retired Maj. Gordon Shiraishi are also on trial with the couple.

Prosecutors say they conspired to frame Katherine Kealoha’s uncle for stealing the couple’s home mailbox.

Prosecutors say the Kealohas wanted to silence the uncle because he threatened to expose financial fraud that supported the couple’s lavish lifestyle.

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8:30 a.m.

A trial focusing on what has been described as the biggest corruption case in Hawaii’s history is about to begin.

Opening statements are expected Wednesday after jurors are selected for the trial of former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha, his wife and current and former police officers.

Prosecutors say Kealoha and his former city deputy prosecutor wife Katherine Kealoha abused their power to frame her uncle for stealing their home mailbox because he threatened to expose fraud that supported the couple’s lavish lifestyle.

Prosecutors say the Kealohas wanted to discredit Katherine Kealoha’s uncle because of a lawsuit he filed alleging she stole money from him and his mother.

Jurors will hear from Katherine Kealoha’s now 99-year-old grandmother through a video deposition because she’s too frail to testify in person.

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