Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment this afternoon in Circuit Court in Hilo.
Represented by attorneys Todd Eddins and Richard Sing, Kenoi appeared in court dressed in tan pants and a beige aloha shirt. He was accompanied by his wife, Takako.
Kenoi, 47, made no statements during the proceedings before Judge Greg Nakamura.
Eddins told the court Kenoi was pleading not guilty to the charges.
Kenoi’s lawyers requested a jury trial, which was set for 9 a.m. on July 18.
A Hilo grand jury indicted Kenoi last week on eight criminal charges, including two felony theft charges over misuse of his county purchasing card from 2011 to 2015.
The mayor faces two counts of second-degree theft, a Class C felony; two counts of third-degree theft, misdemeanors; and one count of false swearing (making false statement under oath, a petty misdemeanor.
Eddins spoke to reporters outside of court after the proceedings.
“The county of Hawaii is not out one penny. Mayor Kenoi has not enriched himself one penny. Mayor Kenoi has not committed a crime. It’s an over-reach to call him a thief. Mayor Billy Kenoi will fight these flimsy charges all the way,” he said.
Eddins said Kenoi was “feeling good. He’s going about doing what he’s always done…working tireless for the county.”
He said Kenoi’s defense team would be reviewing the grand jury indictment and evidence, but was not ready to comment further on the case.
Eddins said there has been, “no negotiation for a plea deal,” despite reports. He said there have been numerous leaks about the case from the state, but he would not be commenting on leaks.