The state Department of Public Safety says it is “obligated and committed to thoroughly investigate” the actions of a deputy sheriff who testified in U.S. District Court that he arranged to have inmates meet family members at state court even though the inmates were not scheduled to be in court.
Deputy Sheriff Thomas Cayetano testified Wednesday in the
federal conspiracy trial
of former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha. He said that he arranged to have Gerard Puana transported to state court from Oahu Community Correctional Center twice in 2011 so that Kealoha could meet with her uncle outside the presence of Puana’s
lawyer. He said he did so at Kealoha’s request. Cayetano did it as a favor to
Kealoha and was not authorized to do that.
Cayetano also testified that he had made similar arrangements for other inmates.
At the time of the arranged meetings, Kealoha was a supervisor in the Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney but was not the prosecutor assigned to her uncle’s criminal case. The deputy prosecutor who was assigned the case and Puana’s public defender testified that they were not aware of Kealoha’s meetings with Puana.
The government presented Cayetano’s testimony to show the lengths to which Kealoha went to control the criminal case of her uncle, with whom she was involved in a family dispute over money.