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State briefs for July 16

New attorney appointed to represent Katherine Kealoha

HONOLULU — Former Honolulu deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, who was convicted of conspiracy, has a new taxpayer-funded attorney.

A federal judge appointed Gary Singh to represent Kealoha. A jury last month found her and her retired police chief husband Louis Kealoha guilty of conspiracy in a plot to frame her uncle. Prosecutors say the Kealohas wanted to keep him from revealing fraud that paid for their lavish lifestyle.

Cynthia Kagiwada asked to withdraw as Katherine Kealoha’s attorney, citing a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship. Kealoha filed a motion saying she should get a new trial because Kagiwada was ineffective.

Singh said Monday he met with his new client twice at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

Kealoha faces two more trials, including for drug-dealing charges.

The Kealohas have taxpayer-funded attorneys because they can’t afford to hire their own.

Volunteers to fix vandalized gravestones at church

HONOLULU — Volunteers will repair more than two dozen gravestones that were vandalized at a historic church cemetery in downtown Honolulu.

Ten volunteers from the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers will lead the work at Kawaiahao Church, which was expected to begin Monday.

They’ll spend several days fixing 26 of the 27 vandalized headstones. The last headstone will be fully replaced with a new marker, in accordance with the wishes of the deceased’s family.

Several local construction companies and materials suppliers are donating materials and supplies.

The work will include cleaning headstone surfaces, grinding away old mortar and reattaching headstones to their pedestals using epoxy.

Oprah visits Maui Humane Society following wildfire

WAILUKU, Maui — Oprah Winfrey surprised the Maui Humane Society with a visit to thank the organization for evacuating animals during a wildfire.

Winfrey is a part-time Maui resident and visited the society briefly Saturday, thanking a volunteer and taking a photo outside with the organization’s sign.

Winfrey is a society supporter, said Nancy Willis, the society’s director of development and community outreach.

More than 200 animals were evacuated Thursday after a brush fire started in Maui’s southern area, coming close to the Human Society’s building in Puunene before moving farther south, officials said.

Winfrey posted the photo of herself at the shelter on social media and included a hashtag for the society, as well as the Maui police and fire departments.

“Everyone’s safe including all the animals,” Winfrey wrote. “Thank you for your service.”

Winfrey also gave permission Thursday for emergency officials to use a private road on her property if it was needed to evacuate residents and visitors. Winfrey’s road ultimately was not used, said Maui County spokesman Chris Sugidono.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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