Some 413 potential jurors filled the Neal S. Blaisdell Center’s Pikake Room today in an extraordinary federal court proceeding to select jurors in the trial of former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife Katherine, the city’s former deputy prosecutor, and three current and former HPD officers.
J. Michael Seabright, the Chief United States District Judge for Hawaii, is presiding over the case and told those gathered in the Pikake Room that he plans to impanel 12 jurors and four alternates.
Opening statements could then begin on May 22 or May 23 in U.S. District Court on Ala Moana Boulevard, Seabright said.
“Obviously we couldn’t fit everyone into a courtroom for today’s proceedings,” Seabright told those who gathered to fill out juror questionnaires in the Pikake Room, which has a posted capacity of 689 people.
“This is the most I’ve ever had,” Seabright said from a podium on stage while the Kealohas and their attorneys watched from the front row.
The Kealohas appeared at today’s juror selection after being accused of defrauding banks and relatives to fund their lavish lifestyle.
Prosecutors say Katherine Kealoha stole money from her grandmother and an uncle. Prosecutors say when they threatened to expose the fraud, Kealoha tried to have her grandmother declared incapacitated and framed her uncle for a mailbox theft.
Reporters are barred from speaking to potential witnesses and photography was restricted today.
All other aspects of the jury selection process are expected to be handled later this week at federal court on Ala Moana Boulevard, Seabright said.