UNITED STATES NEWS

An Alaska judge will preside over an upcoming Hawaii bribery trial after an unexpected recusal

Jan 25, 2024, 5:43 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — A U.S. judge in Alaska will preside over an upcoming bribery trial in Hawaii against Honolulu’s former top prosecutor after a judge suddenly recused himself.

U.S. Senior District Judge Timothy Burgess will temporarily serve as a judge in the Hawaii district in the case against former Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro, according to an order filed Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright in Hawaii unexpectedly, and without explanation, recused himself from the case.

He presided over the case since a U.S. grand jury indicted Kaneshiro and five others in 2022, alleging that employees of an engineering and architectural firm bribed Kaneshiro with campaign donations in exchange for his prosecution of a former company employee.

All six have pleaded not guilty.

The indictment alleges that Mitsunaga & Associates employees and an attorney contributed more than $45,000 to Kaneshiro’s reelection campaigns between October 2012 and October 2016.

The former employee targeted with prosecution had been a project architect at Mitsunaga & Associates for 15 years when she was fired without explanation on the same day she expressed disagreement with claims the CEO made against her, court documents say.

Kaneshiro’s office prosecuted the architect, whom court documents identify only as L.J.M., but a judge dismissed the case in 2017 for lack of probable cause.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin next month, but it’s unclear if it will be delayed. Burgess will travel to Hawaii for hearings and the trial, said Lucy Carrillo, clerk of court of the Hawaii district. The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6.

It’s also unclear what prompted Seabright’s recusal.

“Whatever the issue is that caused Judge Seabright to recuse himself, it affects all of the local district court judges in some manner,” said Alexander Silvert, who isn’t involved in the case and retired after 31 years as a federal defender in Hawaii. “And therefore they’ve reached out of district in order to ensure a fair and impartial judge presides over the case.”

Both judges were nominated by President George W. Bush in 2005.

Burgess was the U.S. attorney for the Alaska district from 2001 to 2005 and before that, he had been a federal prosecutor in Alaska since 1989.

Seabright spent nearly two decades as a federal prosecutor, including overseeing white-collar and organized crime cases in the U.S. attorney’s office in Hawaii.

United States News

A report published by a Native American-led nonprofit examines the dispossession of $1.7 trillion w...

Associated Press

Report finds Colorado was built on $1.7 trillion of expropriated tribal lands

A report published by a Native American-led nonprofit examines the dispossession of $1.7 trillion worth of tribal homelands in Colorado.

2 minutes ago

Associated Press

Judge rejects religious leaders’ challenge of Missouri abortion ban

A Missouri judge has rejected the argument that lawmakers intended to “impose their religious beliefs on everyone” in the state when they passed a restrictive abortion ban. Judge Jason Sengheiser issued the ruling Friday in a case filed by more than a dozen Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist leaders who support abortion rights. They sought […]

22 minutes ago

Associated Press

Malfunctioning steam room sets off alarm, prompts evacuation at Rhode Island YMCA

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) — A malfunctioning steam room at a YMCA in Rhode Island pumped out so much steam that it triggered an a sprinkler system alarm on Saturday morning, prompting an evacuation. In a statement, the Middletown Police Department said officials rushed to the Newport County YMCA in Middletown around 9 a.m. for a […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Think cicadas are weird? Check out superfans, who eat the bugs, use them in art and even striptease

FOREST PARK, Illinois (AP) — Mayumi Barrack sees a pair of mating periodical cicadas getting together, whips out her phone, says, “Hi guys!” and takes their picture. “I’m not really a bug person, but as I look more and more I feel they are adorable,” Barrack explained, noting that many other creatures — birds, squirrels, […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Police in Maine cancel shelter-in-place order after explosions and fire are reported

AUBURN, Maine (AP) — Police in Maine have canceled a shelter-in-place order in the city of Auburn after reporting that an armed person was in an area where a series of explosions and a house fire erupted early Saturday. The Auburn Police Department said on Facebook that the situation had been resolved and that there […]

10 hours ago

The Supreme Court on Friday struck down a Trump-era ban on bump stocks. (Photo by George Frey/Getty...

Associated Press

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on rapid-fire rifle bump stocks, reopening political fight

The Supreme Court on Friday struck down a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, the rapid-fire gun accessories used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

An Alaska judge will preside over an upcoming Hawaii bribery trial after an unexpected recusal