A judge agreed to hold the bank fraud trial for the Kealohas without a jury.
The couple filed the motion, saying it would be easier for the judge to understand the case, rather than a jury of 12.
It is their legal right to have the trial without a jury. The attorney for the alleged victims isn’t buying the Kealohas reason for waiving the jury. Michael Green says the Kealohas probably don’t think they can sway a jury to rule in their favor.
Katherine and Louis Kealoha were found guilty of conspiracy and obstruction in June by a jury that deliberated just over a day. Green says with the notoriety of the first trial, it would be hard for the Kealohas to find a jury that would find them not guilty.
“They’re so tainted publicly now by the verdict being so short. There are people that want to be a part of this jury, they want to be there. They want to be a part of history,” said Green.
Green represents Ranson Taito and his sister. Prosecutors say Katherine Kealoha was in charge of more than $167,000 that was set aside for them, which prosecutors say the Kealohas spent. Green says the case is simple so the Kealohas’ reason for waiving the jury doesn’t make sense.
“I’m not buying that for a second, what’s complicated? The checks! Is that your signature? Is that the account? Is it a trust account? Were you the trustee? Were you the beneficiaries? There’s nothing complicated about that,” he said.
Green adds that a complicated case would work in favor of the Kealohas if there was a jury, because if one of the 12 jurors got confused, then he or she would be more likely to vote not guilty.
Green says Katherine will likely testify in her defense to try and take most of the blame and save her husband. And a lot will depend on the defense attorneys convincing the judge that Louis didn’t know anything about the money being taken.
“Legally, if a jury says oh he had to know, he must have known, are you kidding? And the judge, maybe they think would have, could have, should have, there’s got to be proof without a reasonable doubt that he knew,” said Green.
Trial is scheduled to start in January. The Kealohas are scheduled for sentencing from the first trial on October 31.