A veteran HPD officer tied to the corruption case against former police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disclosing personal information.
Daniel Sellers was indicted on multiple felonies tied to the corruption case. Legal experts say the plea deal usually means Sellers has valuable information for federal prosecutors.
Sgt. Daniel Sellers has been with HPD for more than 21 years. In federal court Friday, he told a judge that in 2013, he got information from the law enforcement database known as NCIC that pertained to Gerard Puana, which he then gave to Katherine Kealoha. Puana is her uncle and at the time, prosecutors say she, Sellers and three other police officers were involved in a plot to frame Puana for mailbox theft.
Sellers was initially charged with making false statements to a federal officer and tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant which are felonies. Legal experts say it’s surprising that federal prosecutors are letting Sellers off the hook with a misdemeanor.
“Typically what you do as a prosecutor is you gauge the value of the information provided and the amount of information provided in making your determination for plea agreements,” said former U.S. Attorney Loretta Sheehan.
She’s not involved in the case. But she believes that Sellers must have valuable information to get such a plea deal.
“Safe to say that goes beyond the Kealohas?” KHON2 asked.
“It may very well. Today, the plea was a little bit cryptic, it was limited to what we’ve been colloquially calling the mailbox case. But officer Sellers, given his contact with Katherine Kealoha, we all know she was a deputy prosecuting attorney, may have information well beyond just the mailbox case,” said Sheehan.
The maximum penalty for the misdemeanor is one year in prison and a fine of $100,000. Sentencing for Sellers has been scheduled for April 29. HPD says he’s still with the department, on leave without pay.