Jury selection starting in high-level Hawaii corruption case

In this Thursday, May 7, 2019 photo The Neal Blaisdell Center is seen in Honolulu as officials get ready to use the large event venue for jury selection in a corruption case involving the highest levels of the city's law enforcement. The U.S. judge presiding of the case against former police chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine Kealoha, a former deputy city prosecutor, is concerned the courthouse wouldn't accommodate some 400 jurors needed for the high-profile case, so he reserved a room at the center.

On this Thursday, Might 7, 2019 photograph The Neal Blaisdell Middle is seen in Honolulu as officers prepare to make use of the massive event venue for jury choice in a corruption case involving the very best levels of the town’s regulation enforcement. The U.S. decide presiding of the case towards former police chief Louis Kealoha and his spouse Katherine Kealoha, a former deputy metropolis prosecutor, is worried the courthouse wouldn’t accommodate some four hundred jurors needed for the high-profile case, so he reserved a room at the middle.

AP Photograph

Jury selection began Monday in a intently watched corruption scandal involving the very best levels of Honolulu regulation enforcement. However as an alternative of a courtroom, prospective jurors have been summoned to a venue that often hosts live shows, expos and other giant events.

Because of the extreme publicity surrounding the case, four hundred potential jurors are wanted for the initial part of jury choice Monday.

The decide was concerned the U.S. courthouse in downtown Honolulu wouldn’t have the ability to accommodate that many individuals, so he reserved a room at the Neal Blaisdell Middle a couple of miles away.

Long strains are the norm there for live shows. City officers warned of attainable increased visitors in the area on Monday morning because of the weird courtroom venue.

The intently watched scandal stars now-retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his spouse Katherine Kealoha, a former metropolis prosecutor. The couple and current and former officers are accused of abusing police assets to border a Kealoha relative for a criminal offense.

Prosecutors say the Kealohas framed Katherine Kealoha’s uncle for stealing their residence mailbox in an try and cowl up monetary fraud that supported their lavish way of life.

Tons of of prospective jurors are vital in a case that attracted intense publicity.

“Aside from the totally different location, the courtroom will conduct business at this session identically to a session on the courtroom’s regular courtroom and in accordance with the Sixth Amendment proper to a public trial,” U.S. District Decide J. Michael Seabright stated in a March order designating the center because the venue for preliminary jury choice.

The middle is comprised of an area, a live performance hall and an exhibition corridor. Prospective jurors — 413 of them — gathered within the Pikake Room. It was most lately the venue for Royal Hawaiian Band auditions, stated Andrew Pereira, a Honolulu spokesman.

The defendants and their legal professionals sat at tables in entrance of the room while Seabright addressed the gang from a podium on a stage.

“I can see you’re all packed in fairly tightly,” he stated, explaining that they wouldn’t have been in a position to slot in a traditional courtroom. It’s probably the most he is had for a case, he stated.

The would-be jurors crammed out a questionnaire they have been advised would take less than an hour to complete. “Have you ever ever had mail stolen from your mailbox,” was one of many questions. They got an inventory of potential witnesses and others concerned in the case. If they know of any them personally, they had to write down a quick rationalization of how they know them.

Courtroom officials will spend the subsequent few days reviewing the questionnaires. A vastly decreased pool of prospective jurors shall be referred to as again at a later date to proceed the process at the federal courthouse. Twelve jurors and 4 alternates will finally be chosen.

Opening statements are expected Might 22 or 23, Seabright stated.

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