One of Katherine Kealoha’s attorneys is officially dropping off the case.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright granted Honolulu attorney Earle Partington‘s motion to withdraw during a hearing Friday.

Kealoha is also represented by court-appointed attorney Gary Singh, who was in charge of two federal criminal cases involving bank fraud and drug trafficking charges. She pleaded guilty to three felonies in those cases.

Partington came in late during Kealoha’s first trial on conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. A 12-member jury found Kealoha, along with her husband, ex-Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and two Honolulu police officers, guilty of framing her uncle for a crime he didn’t commit — the theft of a mailbox — to gain an advantage in a civil dispute.

The three criminal cases were bundled together in a sweeping investigation of public corruption in Hawaii. Sentencing has also been consolidated and is set for March.

However, Partington’s withdrawal from the case does not necessarily mean he is going away. The attorney says he will still be working with Kealoha on anything she needs after sentencing.

“We felt that it was best we move forward this way,” Kealoha said at the Friday hearing.

Singh, who is now responsible for all three criminal cases at the sentencing, asked the judge for a delay.

He told Civil Beat after the hearing that he needed time to review the transcripts of the first trial, which he wasn’t a part of, in order to prepare for sentencing.

However, Seabright denied Singh’s request and said he should “buckle up.” It’s been delayed enough times already, he said.

This news can't wait.

Every day, journalists in nonprofit newsrooms like Civil Beat dig deeper into the raw news of the day to deliver in-depth and investigative reporting that engages communities, advances solutions, and demands accountability. This news can’t wait. So why would you?

Give today and NewsMatch will double the impact of your donation. We’ll even throw in a limited-edition Civil Beat t-shirt!

About the Author