Judge rules bank fraud evidence can’t be used in Kealoha corruption trial


Allegations of bank fraud and theft will not be allowed in the Kealoha trial accusing them of framing a relative for mailbox theft.

That’s the ruling by a federal judge Tuesday, which some legal experts say is a minor victory for the Kealohas.

Allegations of bank fraud and theft will be part of another trial. But the judge is allowing evidence related to money the Kealohas allegedly took from her uncle and her grandmother.

Former police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha were back in court as they face charges of conspiracy and corruption. Along with three former police officers, they’re accused of framing Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, Gerard Puana, of mailbox theft. 
A judge ruled that prosecutors will not be allowed to use evidence tied to allegations of bank fraud. That along with accusations that Katherine Kealoha spent nearly $150,000 from trust accounts that were supposed to be for two minors.
Defense attorney Victor Bakke, who is not involved in the case, calls it a minor victory for the Kealohas.

“It definitely helps the Kealohas’ case. The more they can keep out evidence of other alleged wrongdoings on their part, it makes them look more credible in the eyes of the jury,” said Bakke.

The judge will allow prosecutors to use evidence related to money that Gerard Puana gave to Katherine Kealoha, which she allegedly never paid back. 

As well as allegations of Kealoha not making payments on a reverse mortgage on a home owned by her grandmother Florence Puana. 
The judge ruled that these can be considered as motives.  

“The government has to be allowed to say why they think that Ms. Kealoha would have done these things. But at the same time they can’t go to the point where they’re just assassinating her character,” said Bakke.

He adds that not allowing the bank fraud allegations also shortens the trial considerably because there will be fewer witnesses. And that also helps the Kealohas and their co-defendants.

“The longer the case goes on the more they’re hearing about misdeeds of these people the jury just starts to get this sense of well they did something wrong,” said Bakke.

Trial is scheduled to start in May. The allegations of bank fraud and theft will take place in another trail after this one is resolved.

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