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Kealohas, citing lack of money, receive taxpayer-funded lawyers

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Former Honolulu Police Department Chief Louis Kealoha and wife Katherine leave the federal courthouse on Thursday.

The federal court has named the lawyers who will represent former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his deputy prosecutor wife Katherine Kealoha against charges that they conspired to and obstructed justice, lied to investigators, and committed bank fraud and identity theft.

The court has tapped Rustam Barbee to represent Louis Kealoha and Cynthia Kagiwada to represent Katherine Kealoha.

According to the Hawaii State Bar Association, Barbee got his law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and entered the state bar in 1992. Before starting his private practice Barbee worked as a prosecutor for the Wisconsin attorney general’s office then as an assistant federal public defender for Hawaii and Guam.

Kagiwada acquired her law degree from University of California Davis School of Law and entered the Hawaii bar in 2003.

As court-appointed lawyers, Barbee’s and Kagiwada’s services will be paid for by taxpayers.

Barbee said, “Ex-Chief Kealoha, having served and protected the city for more than 30 years, has earned the right to the benefit of the doubt and presumption of innocence that applies to all defendants.”

Kagiwada could not be reached for comment.

The Kealohas’ previous lawyers, Myles Breiner, Gary Modafferi and Kevin Sumida, withdrew last week stating that the Kealohas had no money to pay them.

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