With prosecutors set to wrap up their case in the Kealoha trial, it’s time for them to put the puzzle pieces together to prove that there was a conspiracy.
A legal expert says expect prosecutors to finish strong when trial resumes next week.
After 12 days of testimony, prosecutors say they have three to four witnesses left. And according to our legal expert, what they say should help connect the dots on the alleged conspiracy.
Prosecutors have been trying to show the jury that Katherine Kealoha had the motive to frame her uncle Gerard Puana for mailbox theft. And that Bobby Nguyen and Derek Hahn were in on it when they put together the surveillance video showing the mailbox being taken.
But prosecutors also need to show that former police chief Louis Kealoha and retired HPD Maj. Gordon Shiraishi also took part.
“In order to prove a conspiracy, you always have to show that every single person was involved in this and that they had the same criminal intent as each other,” legal expert Doug Chin.
He points out that with every conspiracy case, some defendants will not be as easily implicated as others.
As for Louis Kealoha, prosecutors believe he helped his wife Katherine by causing a mistrial in the criminal case against Puana for the mailbox theft. Chin says their appearances of remaining close throughout this trial can also hurt the former police chief.
“I really think that’s gonna be part of the argument is, look how close they are and how it’s impossible for something to be happening with the wife without the husband knowing,” said Chin.
As for Shiraishi, prosecutors presented testimony that he lied to the FBI when they asked him about the mailbox theft. Chin says the rest of the witnesses and the closing argument will likely tie in more on how much all five defendants conspired to frame Puana.
“The thing about a conspiracy that people have to remember is that it’s puzzle pieces. So maybe one puzzle piece just by itself is a little suspicious, but maybe not enough. But putting it all together is what the prosecutors are hoping to do,” said Chin.
Among the witnesses expected to testify when trial resumes on June 17 is Daniel Sellers, the former HPD officer who cut a plea deal with prosecutors.