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The Latest: Convicted ex-prosecutor wants new trial

July 12, 2019

HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on a taxpayer-funded attorney leaving a Hawaii corruption case (all times local):

4 p.m.

A former Honolulu prosecutor convicted of conspiracy says her defense attorney was ineffective and that she wants a new trial.

An attorney representing Katherine Kealoha filed a motion Thursday saying her former lawyer, Cynthia Kagiwada, is inexperienced. The motion says Kagiwada’s failings include not properly preparing witnesses.

Kagiwada declined to comment.

The motion was filed shortly after a judge allowed Kagiwada to withdraw as Kealoha’s attorney. Kagiwada cited a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.

Kealoha was convicted last month along with her retired police chief husband Louis Kealoha in a plot to frame her uncle. Prosecutors said the couple framed Gerard Puana to keep him from revealing fraud that paid for their lavish lifestyle.

They’re scheduled to be sentenced in October.

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3:40 p.m.

A judge is allowing a taxpayer-funded defense attorney to part ways with her client, a former prosecutor convicted of conspiracy in what’s been described as Hawaii’s biggest corruption case.

Cynthia Kagiwada asked to withdraw as an attorney for Katherine Kealoha, citing a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship. Kealoha was convicted last month along with her retired police chief husband Louis Kealoha in a plot to frame her uncle.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright heard from Kagiwada and Katherine Kealoha behind closed doors Thursday before granting the request. Kagiwada will no longer represent Kealoha for other trials she faces, including one for drug-dealing charges.

Seabright appointed lawyers for the Kealohas after they said they couldn’t afford to pay attorneys. He says he will appoint another attorney to represent her.

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