A judge threw out three lesser charges against Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi on Monday, the same day prosecutors rested in the ongoing criminal trial over the mayor’s use of public money for personal expenses.

Hawaii News Now reported that Judge Dexter Del Rosario threw out the misdemeanor charges of tampering with a government record but denied a motion by Kenoi’s lawyers to toss five other charges. Those include two felony counts of theft.

Mayor Billy Kenoi
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi won a partial victory in his criminal trial on Monday when a judge tossed three misdemeanor charges against him. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Prosecutors have accused Kenoi of illegally using a government spending card, known as a pCard, to rack up thousands of dollars in personal expenses, including booze, a surfboard and visits to so-called hostess bars.

Kenoi has apologized for spending the money and said he has since reimbursed Hawaii County for the charges. His attorneys have said it was an error in judgement but not a criminal act.

The trial began last week. Hawaii News Now reported that Kenoi’s defense team was expected to start calling witnesses on Monday afternoon.

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