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Plea deals put Kealohas in deeper legal trouble says legal experts

HONOLULU (KHON2) - Three defendants have pleaded guilty to conspiracy, all tied to federal cases against the Kealohas. Some legal experts say it's a troubling trend for the former police chief and his deputy prosecutor wife.

KHON2 spoke with attorney Michael Green, who is representing one of the defendants. He says with each plea deal, the case against Katherine and Louis Kealoha gets stronger.

Hawaii County firefighter Jesse Ebersole pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to the grand jury about having an affair with Katherine Kealoha. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to testify at any and all trials, at which the prosecution requests him to testify.

Click here to view the full plea agreement.

Prosecutors say she spent more than $20,000 on him, including issuing him a cashier's check for nearly $1,400 for a no-show job, a job he never showed up for, under her alias Alison Lee Wong.

"The courts will give him substantial help in cooperation if he does the right thing and he's taken the first step in rehabilitation by accepting responsibility," said Green. 

Green represents Ransen Taito, who pled guilty to conspiracy in January. Prosecutors say Katherine Kealoha was in charge of more than $167,000 set aside for Taito and his sister. Taito says she told him to tell the grand jury that he and his sister already got the money. 

"This is contrived stuff. This is thought out to the point of where she sets up ways to cover up signing documents, different colored ink, meeting them at restaurants to say this," said Green.

The first defendant to make a plea agreement was former HPD officer Niall Silva in 2006. As part of the deal, Silva implicated other police officers in a conspiracy to frame Gerard Puana, Katherine Kealoha's uncle, for the theft of the Kealohas' mailbox.

With the prosecution's case getting stronger, Green says it would make sense for Louis Kealoha to also strike a plea deal for himself.

"The obvious defense is I had no idea this was going on. I would not be doing this if I think she's shacked up with some guy while I'm down at the police department being the chief of police," said Green.

Sentencing for all three defendants is on hold until after the trials for the Kealohas are resolved.


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