A Hawaii County firefighter was charged with conspiracy Monday for allegedly lying to a grand jury about an affair with Katherine Kealoha, a deputy prosecutor and wife of former Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha.
Prosecutors say Jesse Ebersole made several trips to Honolulu, which were paid by Katherine Kealoha with money that didn’t belong to her.
Court records say Ebersole and Kealoha were part of a fellowship program called Pacific Century Fellows in 2009, and on several occasions between August 2012 and March 2013, Kealoha paid for Ebersole’s airfare and hotel stays in Honolulu, as well as giving him a cashier’s check for nearly $1,400.
Records say the total expenses amounted to more than $20,000.
Documents say that when Ebersole was called in to testify before the grand jury last year, Kealoha told him to lie and deny that they had an intimate relationship.
He then told the grand jury that he and Kealoha were just friends, and that he was baffled as to why airline tickets with his name would appear on her credit card statements.
“It’s the same thing that’s alleged she did with my clients, these kids. ‘When you go in front of the grand jury, you gotta lie.’ And the reason she got them to lie is they didn’t want their mother to go to prison, beause she told them, ‘Mom got your money. It wasn’t me.’ So there’s the thread here of misconduct,” said attorney Michael Green.
Green is representing two clients who prosecutors say had money taken by Kealoha. Ransen Taito wound up pleading guilty to conspiracy in January, testifying that Kealoha told him to lie to the grand jury.
The Kealohas are awaiting trial for charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and bank fraud.
KHON2 reached out to the attorneys for Ebersole and Katherine Kealoha. They did not want to comment.
Ebersole has been with the Hawaii County Fire Department for 25 years and was promoted to battalion chief in April.
Department officials say he has since been placed on paid leave.