- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 18, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - The Latest on Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s trial on theft charges involving his county credit card (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

An attorney for Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi is defending his client’s wining and dining Hawaii congressional delegation staff members and other officials.

Lawyer Todd Eddins told jurors during Kenoi’s felony theft trial on Tuesday that Kenoi would invite people out after working hours to build trust and friendships.

Eddins says that’s how the mayor would get people to take his calls once he returned home to his island in the “middle of the Pacific.”

Prosecutor Michelle Puu says Kenoi charged $600 to his county credit card at a Washington, D.C., restaurant. He didn’t provide a receipt but told his finance staff he took out congressional staffers.

Eddins says Kenoi stopped in Washington after a trip to Baltimore for a meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors.


11 a.m. Tuesday

A state prosecutor says Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi charged Heineken beer, Crown Royal whiskey and pineapple juice to his county credit card at a Longs Drugs store and passed off the purchases as official county business.

The expense is one of 15 transactions prosecutors are bringing up in Kenoi’s felony theft trial in Hilo. Michelle Puu of the state attorney general’s office told jurors that Kenoi didn’t provide receipts for any of them.

Puu says Kenoi claimed the March 17, 2013, purchase from Longs was for a Sam Choy’s poke contest held during the day, even though a receipt prosecutors obtained showed he bought the alcohol at 7:30 p.m.

Defense Attorney Todd Eddins says Kenoi bought the alcohol to thank volunteers for their work at the raw, cubed-fish contest.


12 a.m. Monday

Attorneys are expected to deliver their opening statements in Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi’s felony theft trial.

A grand jury in March indicted Kenoi after the state attorney general investigated his use of a county credit card to cover personal expenses.

The mayor is being tried on two counts of felony theft, two counts of misdemeanor theft, three counts of tampering with a government record and one count of false swearing. Attorneys are giving their opening statements on Tuesday in a courtroom in Hilo.

Attorney General Doug Chin launched the investigation after Kenoi acknowledged he used his county-issued credit card to cover personal expenses, including nearly $900 at a Honolulu bar.

Hawaii County’s prosecutor had asked Chin to look into the case to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.

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