A move by the Kealohas to waive their right to a jury trial in the bank fraud and identity theft case means Katherine will likely testify to try to save her husband.
That’s according to the attorney representing two of the alleged victims.
Michael Green says Katherine will be taking a risk by testifying. But given the amount of evidence against her, he says she doesn’t have that much to lose.
“It’s what we call in the business a slow plead of guilty for Katherine. I mean she knows what the evidence is, she knows all the checks she wrote,” said Green.
He represents Ranson Taito and his sister. Prosecutors say Katherine Kealoha was in charge of more that $167,000 that was set aside for them, which prosecutors say the Kealohas spent. Green says the move by the Kealohas to waive their right to a jury trial is a way for Katherine to get her husband off the hook.
“My sense is she’s doing this because she’s trying to get her husband out of the case, which means she has to testify. She has to say it was all me, he had nothing to do with this,” said Green.
Rustam Barbee, Louis’ attorney, says it’s because the case is complicated and might be hard for a jury to understand. Legal expert Doug Chin says it makes sense for the defense. Not having a jury also takes the emotional elements out of the trial.
“It’s a lot easier for lawyers to bring up more technical arguments and ones that don’t have anything to do with emotion,” said Chin.
But he’s not ruling out that Katherine is trying to save her husband. Especially since a jury already found both Kealohas guilty of corruption and obstruction of justice.
“That might make sense because a judge might be more willing to find Louis Kealoha not guilty than a jury under these circumstances,” said Chin.
Green adds that a complicated case presented to a jury might actually help the defense.
“Yeah, you only need one of the 12 to say I don’t believe it and she can cry and say listen, it was me, my poor husband got sucked in,” said Green.
A hearing on the motion is scheduled on Wednesday. We reached out to Katherine Kealoha’s attorney, Gary Singh, and he has not responded.