The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest wants the federal court to allow the public to see court records that have been kept under seal in the corruption case against former deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.

“There’s just no explanation as to why these documents were sealed or at the minimum why information is hidden,” said Brian Black, executive director of the Civil Beat Law Center.

Black filed the motion Friday in federal court in Honolulu.

Beginning in September, Kealoha’s attorney, Cynthia Kagiwada, began filing sealed documents on her client’s behalf as her Nov. 14 bank fraud trial date approached.

Based on those filings, which have never been public, both Katherine Kealoha and her husband, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, were able to get the November bank fraud trial postponed until June after they face a separate corruption trial along with four other police officers in March.

Retired HPD Chief Louis Kealoha Katherine Kealoha leave District Court.

Retired HPD Chief Louis Kealoha Katherine Kealoha leave District Court with her attorney, Cynthia Kagiwada, right.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Kagiwada had argued that her client could not assist in her own defense because of a medical condition.

Individuals do have a right to keep health conditions from being revealed publicly but there are procedures the court must follow before court filings are sealed, Black said.

But additional sealed filings in the corruption case did not have an accompanying motion to keep them secret filed with the court, Black said. And there’s nothing to indicate whether they contain health information, he said.

In its filing, the Civil Beat Law Center noted that the indictment asserted that the deputy prosecuting attorney and the chief of police  “defrauded a man, framed him for a crime, and conspired with other police officers to cover-up their wrongdoing.”

In its filing, the Civil Beat Law Center noted that the indictment asserted that the deputy prosecuting attorney and the chief of police  “defrauded a man, framed him for a crime, and conspired with other police officers to cover-up their wrongdoing.”

“If true, these allegations against Defendant Katherine P. Kealoha and others strike at the integrity of the criminal justice system in Hawai`i. With such charges of public corruption, it is especially important that this Court ensure the public remains informed concerning the progress of the case,” according to the motion.

Black added that the court could redact personal information but release the rest of the information in the filings. That way, the public is informed about what is going on and the right to privacy is maintained.

“I think there are questions as to whether the documents could be redacted,” he said

Kagiwada did not immediately return a call for comment about Black’s motion. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wheat said he had “no comment” about the request. 



Dkt 1 1 Memo Re Motion to Unseal (Text)

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