Legal expert says Katherine Kealoha’s letter more likely to help her co-defendants

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Katherine Kealoha is taking responsibility for her actions and asking for leniency just days before her sentencing. Not so much for herself, but for her husband — the former police chief — and two convicted Honolulu Police Department officers.

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Kealoha’s attorney, Gary Singh, says she consulted with him about the letter. He said it was important for her to take full responsibility. A legal expert says it might help her a little, but it would probably be more beneficial to her three co-defendants.

The former Honolulu deputy prosecutor submitted a five-page handwritten letter in which she accepted full responsibility for what she calls widespread destruction. Katherine and her husband Louis Kealoha were convicted last year of conspiracy and obstruction of justice for framing her uncle for mailbox theft. Former HPD officers Derek Hahn and Bobby Nguyen were also convicted. Prosecutors want the judge to give her a 14-year sentence.

In her letter she says, “All three of them are good family men who do not deserve to go to prison… and their only mistakes were in trusting me and associating with me.”

Legal expert Doug Chin says it should help them.

“The fact that she made a statement about her other co-defendants, that might carry a little more weight,” said Chin.

Katherine also wrote about abusing prescription drugs since 2001, “My life was a blur of turbulence and chaos, and I was navigating my way in the darkness,” she wrote.

She also submitted a copy of a certificate for completing a drug abuse prevention program. Katherine asked for forgiveness and said, “I also extend my forgiveness to those in this case that did not speak the truth. Whether it was out of fear or self-preservation I can’t condemn your choice.”

Rustam Barbee, the attorney for Louis Kealoha, says he will not write a letter but will speak to the judge during sentencing on Nov. 30. Chin says it is best for Louis to also take full responsibility.

“I don’t think it would be a great idea to point the finger at other people to say that the other people were more responsible. That probably sends the wrong message,” he said.

Prosecutors are asking for a seven-year sentence for Louis. Barbee is asking for three. Louis has filed for divorce and Barbee says Katherine is fighting it because she wants part of his pension from the police department.

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