Jesse Michael Ebersole admitted he knowingly lied to a federal grand jury about his relationship with deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha in federal court Thursday.

The 49 year old told Judge J. Michael Seabright he did talk with Katherine prior to his first court appearance back in 2017 and says she told him not to disclose their intimate relationship and that he lied to the grand jury saying they were "just friends."

He also said he knew Katherine was spending money on things like hotels, airfare and car payments for him, money Katherine Kealoha allegedly stole from relatives.

Ebersole's name came up during the FBI's investigation into where that money was going, part of a much bigger corruption case investigation involving Katherine Kealoha, her husband, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and a stolen mailbox.

An attorney representing her relatives says knowing the plea, Louis Kealoha should make a deal with the feds.

"If there's ever a moment in a case where you have the opportunity to come forward and work with the government on the best deal possible. This is that moment in this case. If he misses that moment, I don't think there's going to be another chance. This is it right here. After hearing this guilty plea and what's occurred, this is his moment," Alexander Silvert, attorney said. 

Ebersole and his attorney declined to comment.

Conspiracy to obstruct is a felony. Ebersole could face up to five years in prison.

He was released until sentencing, which is scheduled for April.

Ebersole serves as a battalion chief for the Hawaii County Fire Department's medical services branch. He's currently on paid leave but he told the judge he hopes to keep his job.