HONOLULU (KHON2) — Katherine Kealoha is getting a new lawyer. Cynthia Kagiwada filed a motion to withdraw and the judge approved it Thursday.
This comes as her other attorney is also asking the judge to overturn Kealoha’s guilty verdict and allow for a new trial.
Both Katherine and Louis Kealoha were present for the hearing. But this time, she was wearing a white prison jumpsuit and her legs were shackled.
As for the reason why Kagiwada does not want to represent Katherine anymore, she told the judge behind closed doors because it was considered attorney-client privilege. When asked if she objected to Kagiwada withdrawing, Katherine said no.
“I think Katherine was happy to see her go because Katherine asked her to do a lot of things in the trial that she didn’t do,” said Earle Partington, Katherine’s other attorney.
Partington was hired by Katherine’s family but only to help with the first trial. After the hearing he filed motion for a new trial.
He says Kagiwada was not competent in representing Katherine. He adds that Kagiwada did a bad job in undermining the credibility of key witnesses such as Florence and Gerard Puana. And that Kagiwada did not have enough trial experience.
“How on earth did an inexperienced lawyer get appointed to represent Katherine Kealoha? Our ethical rules say that if your lawyer is not competent to take the case, the lawyer should decline,” said Partington.
It could take months before the judge rules on Partington’s motion. The judge plans to find another attorney for Katherine by next week. Sentencing will remain as scheduled, which is in October.