Monday, October 2, 2023

Hawaii’s Top Democrat State Legislator Gets 3 Years for Bribery

'This is something that has been done very, very carefully, almost surgically, over the last couple years... '

(Pamela Cosel, Headline USA)  A former Senate majority leader from Hawaii, J. Kalani English, 55, will spend a few years of his retirement behind bars, now convicted of bribery.

It’s another case of a politician taking money from a company and then shaping legislation to benefit that business. English last year announced he was retiring because of health issues. Likely it made him sick that his corruption was made public.

In reality, he said he suffers from long-term COVID symptoms, according to MSN.

He was sentenced to 40 months in prison and fined $100,000. He also will be supervised for an additional three years after he gets out of prison, according to his attorney, Richard Sing.

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway was the sentencing authority in the case.

English pleaded guilty in February to taking more than $18,000 from Milton Choy, a Honolulu businessman. Reports say he also accepted other funds to introduce a bill and later kill it, which would have benefitted Choy and his wastewater business, H2O Process Systems.

Also charged for taking $40,000 in the case is former state Rep. Ty Cullen. His sentencing is set for Oct. 20. Cullen resigned immediately after he pleaded guilty, according to Hawaii News Now. He could get as much as 20 years behind bars.

Choy has been cooperating with federal investigators for years in the case that began in 2019 against the two former lawmakers, reported Honolulu Civil Beat.

“This is something that has been done very, very carefully, almost surgically, over the last couple years,” Choy’s attorney, Michael Green, said.

Choy has been a long-time political donor since 2014, as are members of his family and business associates, giving more than $356,000 to various campaigns.

“I hope this serves as a message to everyone in government that there can be no tolerance for unethical conduct,” House Speaker Scott Saiki said in a statement issued after English’s sentencing.

“I’m not sure how much worse it could get. This is quid pro quo public corruption. This is really bad,” Saiki told reporters in a story published by Hawaii Public Radio.

Apparently government corruption is not limited to just Chicago, Detroit and New York anymore.

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