- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Jurors are scheduled to resume deliberations Tuesday in the felony theft case against Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Closing arguments in Kenoi’s trial wrapped up Monday following six days of testimony, with Attorney General Kevin Takata telling the jury the mayor sought to live “beyond the law.” Kenoi’s attorney, Todd Eddins, maintained that his client was a “decent family man” wrongly accused by the state government.

Kenoi is charged with four counts of theft and one count of making a false statement under oath in connection with the alleged misuse of his county-issued credit card. Last week, Judge Dexter Del Rosario dismissed three counts related to tampering with government documents.

Prosecutors have argued that Kenoi used the card for personal expenses, made hundreds of dollars’ worth of alcohol purchases and only reimbursed the county after media outlets brought attention to the issue.

“Five times he paid the county back, but he didn’t pay for this. Five times he decided what to pay and five times he didn’t. That’s theft,” Takata said about one transaction in which more than two years passed between the initial charge and Kenoi’s reimbursement for the purchase.

Eddins argued that Kenoi did not do anything illegal, saying the mayor is allowed to make purchases at his discretion under a “broad and expansive, far-reaching law.”

“Everything’s transparent. This is a county, to-be-reimbursed, expense. He could have made up anything,” Eddins said. “If someone is stealing, you’d expect to see lack of transparency. In this case, you have computer systems, accounts payable, the director of finance. It’s all out there.”

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