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Prosecution links Kealoha defendants through ‘Pinkerton Rule’

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Katherine and Louis Kealoha arrive at federal court on Tuesday for closing arguments.

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Federal prosecutors wrapped up their conspiracy and corruption case against the Kealoha’s and their three fellow defendants today and told jurors that everyone involved in a conspiracy is liable for each other’s actions.

Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Pinkerton Rule,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Orabona told jurors, “if you’re in for an inch, you’re in for the mile. You’re in for the whole thing.”

Katherine Kealoha’s dispute with her estranged uncle and grandmother has taken center stage during the federal trial against the former deputy prosecutor and her husband, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha.

But Orabona walked jurors through the prosecution’s case today and said that Honolulu police officer Minh-Hung “Bobby” Nguyen, Lt. Derek Wayne Hahn and retired Maj. Gordon Shiraishi are all complicit with the Kealohas.

So the criminal actions of Nguyen, Hahn and Shiraishi also implicate the Kealohas, Orabona said.

For instance, Orabona said Nguyen provided false testimony to a federal grand jury about the theft of the Kealoha’s mailbox, which they blamed on Gerard Puana, Katherine Kealoha’s uncle.

“In for a penny, in for a pound,” Orabona told the jury. “All of the other defendants are also guilty of committing the same crime.”

Earlier in the day, U.S. Chief Justice Judge J. Michael Seabright read jurors lengthy instructions that include references to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Pinkerton Rule in 1946, which held a brother liable for his brother’s action in an Internal Revenue Code case.

Seabright told jurors that anyone who joins a conspiracy is as guilty as the “originators” and does not need to be aware of all of the details in order to be guilty.

To find any of the five defendants guilty, Seabright told the jurors they have to unanimously vote that the prosecution proved its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Each of the defense attorneys is scheduled to begin their closing arguments this afternoon.

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