HILO, Hawaii – The trial of Mayor Billy Kenoi entered its fifth day on Wednesday. The mayor – who in March was indicted by grand jury for two counts of felony theft, two additional counts of misdemeanor theft, and one count of false swearing – took the stand in his own defense this morning.
On Monday, state circuit court judge Dexter D. Del Rosario dismissed three other counts against Kenoi based upon insufficient evidence after the State of Hawaii rested its case.
Today, the defense continued to call witnesses to bolster its own argument that Kenoi was not stealing from taxpayers when he used his government-issued purchase card to buy food and alcohol, but rather building important relationships to the benefit of Hawaii County.
Kenoi took the stand in his own defense about mid-way through the day and began his testimony with his story, starting with emotional recollections of a simple childhood in Kalapana, and working his way through law school and meeting his eventual wife Takako. He talked about taking office in 2008 after a successful campaign for mayor, and selecting his administration team.
We will update this story through-out the day. You can watch today’s trial on a two-hour time delay on the Na Leo TV website.