Prosecutors: Kealoha case is about greed, corruption, and lies

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Prosecutors in the Kealoha conspiracy trial call it a case about greed, corruption, and lies.

Attorneys for the Kealohas and three police officers say the conspiracy is a far fetched theory, and has not been proven.

Tuesday was closing arguments.

Prosecutors say Katherine Kealoha used the reverse mortgage as an opportunity to get more money.

She wanted to frame Gerard Puana because he and Florence Puana were finding out that Katherine had spent $135,000 of Florence’s money that was put in a joint account.

They say Louis Kealoha must have known about it because nearly $24,000 was spent for celebration breakfast when he became chief.

Prosecutors also pointed out that when the mailbox was taken the thief knew exactly where to park the car because he knew where the cameras were so license plates were not visible.

The mailbox was prepped to be taken in less than a minute.

Prosecutors also told the jury that there were 53 contacts by phone between Katherine, Nguyen, and Derek Hahn in the days before and after mailbox theft- that shows coordination, communication, and concealment which add up to a conspiracy.

Rustam Barbee, the attorney for Louis Kealoha, says his client didn’t lie when he identified Gerard Puana in the video taking the mailbox during his trial.

It was his opinion.

And why would Kealoha intentionally cause a mistrial if the Kealohas were trying to frame Puana for the theft?

Barbee adds that there’s no evidence that the mailbox was staged to be taken so easily. He says it just was not installed properly.

Cynthia Kagiwada, the attorney for Katherine Kealoha, focused her arguments on Gerard Puana.

Kagiwada says it was Gerard who was taking financial advantage of his mother Florence Puana.

She points out that Gerard wrote out some checks from Florence’s account.

And that Gerard lied when he said he left the Sand Island Drug Treatment Center on his own.

There was testimony from the head of the facility who said he was kicked out for threatening his roommate.

As for all the communication between the defendants during the time of Gerard’s trial, Kagiwada points out it’s not known what they were saying so they could have been talking about anything.

Birney Bervar, Derek Hahn’s attorney says he was just doing his job as a police officer. He had never even met Gerard Puana so there was no motive for Hahn to frame him.

The attorneys for Bobby Nguyen and Gordon Shiraishi will make their closing arguments on Wednesday, and then will make a rebuttal.

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