Honolulu’s prosecutor is taking a leave of absence from his office, a month after confirming he received a target letter in connection with a federal investigation.

Keith Kaneshiro’s full statement is below:

This is to announce that I am taking a leave of absence from my office, Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, effective Thursday, March 7, 2019.

I am honored to have served as Prosecuting Attorney for 16 years and am proud to have worked with the professionals and staff of the office and I remain dedicated to my commitment to the voters who elected me.  Every day we work hard to protect the citizens of this county and to hold those who violate criminal laws accountable.

Accordingly, to avoid further distraction and to insure the continuity of orderly administration of justice, I am taking leave from my position as Prosecuting Attorney and delegating the responsibility of that office to Dwight Nadamoto to be Acting Prosecuting Attorney.

I have great confidence that those in the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney will continue to conscientiously perform our mission of enforcing the law.

His announcement comes on the day he was given as a deadline to respond to the Attorney General’s request to the Hawaii Supreme Court to immediately suspend Kaneshiro.

“Mr. Kaneshiro’s purported status as the target of a federal criminal investigation creates a conflict of interest prohibited under the rules of professional conduct,” said Attorney General Clare Connors in filing the petition on February 11.  “His refusal to address the conflict by taking leave of his public office has necessitated the filing of this petition.” 

Kaneshiro and his attorney William McCorriston had previously denied request for him to step down, saying there’s no evidence that Kaneshiro has done anything wrong, and there’s no evidence that the investigation was putting cases in jeopardy or affecting operations at the prosecutor’s office. 

McCorriston confirmed that Kaneshiro has received a target letter in connection with a federal corruption investigation. Former police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife former deputy prosecutor Katherine, are awaiting trial along with other police officers for corruption and obstruction of justice. 

Stay with KHON2 and KHON2.com for the latest on these developments, and reaction to what happens next.