The Honolulu City Council will consider spending $100,000 or more per defendant.

The City and County of Honolulu is set to cover the legal expenses of three former officials who are accused of committing federal crimes in the course of their duties.

Former managing director Roy Amemiya, former Honolulu Police Commission chair Max Sword and former Honolulu attorney Donna Leong have requested the local government cover the cost of their defense. All three have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to improperly grant former police chief Louis Kealoha a $250,000 severance.

Honolulu has no choice but to pay for it, according to Scott Humber, the communications director for Mayor Rick Blangiardi.

Section 5-203 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu states the Corporation Counsel or a designee serves as the legal representative for “all agencies, the council and all officers and employees in matters relating to their official powers and duties.”

The Honolulu City Council will now consider the administration’s requests to hire outside legal representation.

Two resolutions would allow expenditures of $100,000 each for Amemiya and Sword‘s legal teams with the possibility of additional legal expenses in the future. A resolution regarding Leong has not yet been introduced.

Correction: The city initially said Leong had not requested city funding for her legal representation but later it had made a mistake. She requested funding in July 2020, according to Humber.

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