Big Island Mayor Kenoi Acquitted in Theft Trial

November 1, 2016, 2:05 PM HST · Updated November 1, 2:07 PM
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Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Billy Kenoi. File photo courtesy County of Maui Office of Council Services.

Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Billy Kenoi. File photo courtesy County of Maui Office of Council Services.

A Hawaiʻi Island jury has acquitted Hawaiʻi County Mayor William P. Kenoi of all charges filed against him in a theft trial.

Mayor Kenoi’s trial ended on Monday, Oct. 31, and the verdict was rendered today after the jury deliberated for one day.

On March 23, 2016, a Hawaiʻi Island grand jury indicted Mayor Kenoi for two counts of felony theft, two additional counts of misdemeanor theft, three counts of tampering with a government record and one count of false swearing.

The charges stemmed from alleged conduct taking place from 2011 through 2015 while Mayor Kenoi was in office.

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During trial, after the prosecution rested its case, the court dismissed three of the misdemeanor counts for tampering with a government record based on insufficient evidence.

Defense attorneys argued that Kenoi believed he was allowed to make decisions on how to use his more than $90,000, county council-approved entertainment budget.  According to our Big Island Now sister site, the defense further argued that Kenoi stopped making personal charges on the county pCcard when he was advised against it.

Attorney General Doug Chin responded to the news by issuing a statement this afternoon saying, “The crime of theft requires proof a person intended to permanently deprive his victim of what he stole. The prosecution argued that not paying back funds to the county of Hawaiʻi until after the press caught him was proof of Mayor Kenoi’s intent. We respect the verdict and thank the jurors for their service.”

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