UPDATE: Attorney of man accused of Kealoha's mailbox theft testifies on Day 7 of Kealoha corruption trial
This testimony is launching a greater investigation into Katherine and Louis Kealoha.
The Prosecutors in the Kealoha Corruption trial ended the week by calling Gerard Puana’s defense lawyer to the stand.
The highly anticipated testimony from attorney Alexander Silvert took up most of the day.
Silvert represented Gerard Puana while he stood trial for allegedly stealing Louis and Katherine Kealoha's mailbox.
In his testimony Friday, Alexander Silvert told the court about some of his suspicions while preparing his clients case, which ultimately led federal investigators to start digging into the Kealohas.
Gerard Puana is Katherine Kealohas uncle.
He was initially identified as a man seen in surveillance video taken outside Katherine and Louis Kealoha’s home in Kahala on June 21, 2013. It was never proven that the man seen in the footage was Puana.
Federal Prosecutors want to prove the Kealohas staged the whole thing to set up Puana.
In his testimony, Silvert told the court about the hour-long surveillance clip he was given.
He said the mailbox in the video appeared loose and when the box was lifted from its post he said, “that’s not the way a mailbox should come off."
He then asked the U.S. attorneys office to provide him with more video, specifically the days leading up to that June night to see if the mailbox had been tampered with.
After not getting far, he requested and issued a subpoena to the Kealohas.
Silvert also testified about other inconsistencies, such as the timeline of when the mailbox was allegedly taken, to when the surveillance video was retrieved from the Kealoha's home, to when a police report was filed.
He also had questions about the surveillance Honolulu police officers were conducting on his client before Silvert found out Puana was a suspect.
Then federal prosecutors asked about Puana’s trial. The prosecutors re-enacted what then-Chief Louis Kealoha said on the witness stand using a law clerk to read transcripts. The transcript said Louis Kealoha referenced the suspect's appearance in the surveillance video, saying "how he looks in this video is how he looked when he was charged and convicted of breaking into a neighbors house.”
Because of that comment, Silvert testified he got angry, calling it improper testimony. The trial eventually ended in a mistrial and Puana was never convicted.
During cross examination, attorneys tried to discredit Silvert and his recollection of the case, asking if he was aware that the mailbox had been assembled incorrectly. They also asked him what his investment in the case was. Silvert said he still technically represents Gerard Puana now as a victim instead of a defendant, and that he personally has no investment, but as Puana's attorney, he would like him to win.
He stepped down from the witness stand just before 5 p.m. and spoke with reporters.
"So it's been a long time for me and Mr. Puana to be able to finally get some say in court. So today was that day and all I will say it's very interesting being a witness. I've never been on that side of the trial court before. It's very interesting perspective and limited in how you can respond," he said.
Prosecutor Michael Wheat told the judge that he has about 20 witnesses left, and expects to wrap up his case by next Friday, then it's on to the defense.