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Former state Rep. Ty Cullen gets new sentencing date in bribery case

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                                Ty Cullen


    Ty Cullen

A federal judge has set a new sentencing date for former Hawaii state Rep. Ty Cullen, who pleaded guilty in February to one count in connection with his acceptance of bribes when he was a lawmaker.

He’s now due to be sentenced Oct. 20 instead of July 5. Cullen’s attorney, Birney Bervar, declined to comment.

Former Senate Majority Leader Kalani English, who also pleaded guilty in a related case, is still scheduled to be sentenced July 5.

The two Democrats each face up to 20 years in prison, but their sentences will depend on various factors. It’s possible they will get less because they pleaded guilty early.

Cullen resigned his House seat representing Waipahu less than an hour before prosecutors announced the allegations in February. He entered a guilty plea the following week.

His plea agreement with prosecutors says he accepted cash payments from a business owner identified as “Person A” dating as far back as 2014. That year, Cullen received $22,000 worth of casino chips from the business owner during a trip to a wastewater conference in New Orleans.

The following year, Cullen introduced a bill as a favor to “Person A” that provided for a feasibility study and pilot project for the collection and treatment of wastewater, the agreement said. The measure resulted in “Person A’s” industrial services company receiving a subcontract.

The agreement says the business owner gave Cullen four cash payments totaling $23,000 on separate occasions from September 2019 through March 2020.

(The Honolulu Star- Advertiser previously identified the business owner as Milton J. Choy, owner of H20 Process Systems and Fluid Technologies, who began cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice after he got caught in a separate investigation.)

Cullen has pleaded guilty to one count of honest serv­ices wire fraud. He’s agreed to forfeit property he gained from the bribes.

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