Prosecutor-elect Alm looks to rebuild office as it continues to take heat

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Despite the embarrassing corruption scandal uncovered during former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha’s trial, conviction, and last week’s sentencing, the City’s auditor has found that policies, procedures and controls have not changed significantly and more needs to be done.

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Honolulu Prosecutor-Elect Steve Alm will be sworn in on Jan. 2, replacing Acting Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto, who is filling in for Keith Kaneshiro.

The former Prosecutor was placed on leave after receiving a federal target letter in the Kealoha investigation.

“If people commit offense, whether they’re police chiefs, whether they’re high level prosecutors, they should be held accountable like anybody else,” Alm said.

With Kealoha’s convictions under scrutiny, Alm is planning a review.

“We will do a complete case management audit of any case that Kathy Kealoha has touched,” Alm said. “I’ve already talked to senior people in the office about working on that as soon as I get in there.”

Until he gets into office, Alm plans to focus on hiring.

“I think part of it is instituting a culture of ethics, of doing the right thing, and of holding people accountable,” he said. “But it’s hiring good people as supervisors who have a moral center.”

Alm’s way of weeding out corruption is through collaboration with the Honolulu Police Department to investigate and prosecute white collar crime.

“I plan to beef up the white collar section of that office so it can handle the increasing number of white collar cases. The police have started a cyber crimes unit and both of those cases as well as political corruption cases,” Alm explained.

He wants help from the public and believes that convictions like the Kealohas will deter others from abusing their power.

“I will ask if anyone out there in the community has any information on wrongdoing and any corruption to please call our office certainly when I get in there,” Alm said. “Violent crime is not deterred by other people getting convicted of violent crime. But political corruption white collar crime, when those folks get convicted and sent to prison, that deters other people from doing the same kind of thing.”

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