(AP) — A Honolulu police sergeant says he was trying to help a childhood friend when he gave her information from a confidential database.
Sgt. Daniel Sellers was sentenced to a year of probation Monday for disclosing confidential information to Katherine Kealoha, a former deputy city prosecutor who is fighting corruption-related charges along with her husband, former police chief Louis Kealoha. They’re accused of framing Katherine Kealoha’s uncle for theft of their home mailbox.
Sellers says he regrets looking up information about the uncle’s vehicles and passing it along to Kealoha. At the time, he a member of the Honolulu Police Department’s elite Criminal Intelligence Unit.
Sellers was indicted with the Kealohas in 2017. After initially pleading not guilty to several charges, he accepted a plea deal. In exchange for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disclosing confidential information, prosecutors agree to drop the other charges.
He also agreed to cooperate with a continuing FBI investigation into alleged corruption in the police department and the Honolulu city prosecutor’s office.
In court for his plea change earlier this year, Sellers told the judge he knew what he did was wrong.
“I came to court to own up to what I’ve done wrong, taking responsibility for what I’ve done and to continue to tell the truth and do the right thing,” Sellers said in court.
Sellers’ sentencing is the newest development in the slowly emerging narrative behind a complicated and wide-ranging case against the Kealohas and several cops that stretches from charges of bank fraud and forgery to identity theft and felony conspiracy.
The Kealohas and three other officers — Minh-Hung “Bobby” Nguyen, Derek Hahn, Gordon Shiraishi — are scheduled for trial on the charges relating to the mailbox theft in May.
The Kealohas face a separate trial on bank fraud stemming from Katherine Kealoha’s alleged bilking of funds from a guardianship of two minor children.
Katherine Kealoha and her brother, Big Island Dr. Rudolph Puana, have also been charged with selling powerful opioid painkillers illegally prescribed by Puana, covering it up from police and thwarting the prosecution of the case.
Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro — another target in the wide-range federal corruption investigation — stepped down temporarily in March after becoming the subject of a target letter, indicating that he his a suspect in the ongoing probe.
Kaneshiro’s purported wrongdoing isn’t clear.
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