Resolution of Investigation 2023-1 (COMPL-I-21-00231)
Former Legal Clerk’s Use and Disclosure of Confidential Information
from Hawai‘i State Ethics Commission, February 15, 2023
The Hawai‘i State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) has resolved an investigation of Brandon D. Zakahi (“Respondent Zakahi”), a former legal clerk with the Department of the Attorney General, for alleged violations of the State Ethics Code, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (“HRS”) chapter 84.
Respondent Zakahi admitted and declared, under penalty of perjury, that the following facts are true and correct:1
a) From 2012 to 2019, Respondent Zakahi was employed by the Department of the Attorney General (“ATG”) as a Legal Clerk and was assigned to the Tort Litigation Division until May 2019. Respondent Zakahi transferred to a different division for several months and left the ATG in the summer of 2019.
b) Respondent Zakahi, at all times relevant herein, was a state employee as defined in HRS § 84-3, and was required to comply with the State Ethics Code, HRS chapter 84.
c) Between 2017 and May 2019, Respondent Zakahi provided clerical support for the deputy attorney generals representing the State of Hawaiʻi in Mueller v. State of Hawaiʻi, et al, Civil No. 17-00571 HG-WRP, United States District Court for the District of Hawaiʻi (“Mueller”). As part of his duties and responsibilities, Respondent Zakahi reviewed and handled confidential information related to the case.
d) On October 28, 2021, Respondent Zakahi sent an electronic message to Plaintiffʻs counsel in the Mueller case and referenced certain confidential information that Respondent Zakahi had previously reviewed as a Legal Clerk. The information was potentially adverse to the State’s defense.
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EDITOR's NOTE: Oct 28, 2021 was Day One of Jury Trial. On Nov 3, 2021, while Jury Trial was still proceeding, the following was introduced into evidence by Plaintiff's Attorney: LINK
DPS Director Nolan Espinda retired Oct 1, 2020 and committed suicide May 19, 2022.
Hawaii AG Claire Connors served until December 10, 2021. With the support of Schatz and Hirono, she was named US Attorney by President Biden. On Jan 3, 2022 she was sworn in.
MUST READ: Secret Arbitration Revealed: How DPS Official Kept Crooked Cop On The Job After FBI Raid
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BACKGROUND: On November 12, 2021, following a seven-day trial, the jury returned a split verdict. The jury found in favor of Plaintiff Elizabeth Mueller against Defendant State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety and Defendant Freddie Carabbacan.
CB November 12, 2021: Federal Jury Awards $7M To Woman Assaulted In Court Cellblock In Hawaii
A federal jury awarded $7 million in damages to a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a deputy sheriff in a First Circuit Court cellblock in Honolulu in 2014.
Elizabeth Mueller was in HOPE probation, a drug probation program, when she alleges she was assaulted during an illegal strip search by Freddie Carabbacan, a deputy sheriff who was sergeant of the courthouse cellblock at the time.
An internal investigation into the incident substantiated Mueller’s claims and found that Carabbacan violated departmental policies governing searches of inmates. Male sheriffs are prohibited from searching female inmates.
Carabbacan was fired in 2015, but a third party arbitrator awarded him his job back in 2016….
Carabbacan didn’t retain an attorney for this case and said he felt that he didn’t need one. He denied that his searches of women constituted sex assault.
“I feel my record is clean,” he said in a phone interview. “I have nothing to hide.”
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2022 SB3041: Elizabeth Mueller v. Department of Public Safety, et al. Civil No. 17—00571 HG WRP, USDC -- $4M Settlement funded by Legislature
HNN July 1, 2021: State deputy sheriff faces charges of theft -- Freddie Carabbacan was arrested at Circuit Court, where he was assigned. The state Department of Public Safety would not say if he had been terminated but did say that Carabbacan had been employed since 2004.
HNN Aug 17, 2022: Airport theft probe that’s netted at least 7 arrests exposes possible public corruption scheme -- Deputy Sheriff Freddie Carabbacan, a state Department of Public Safety employee since 2004, was arrested last year on suspicion of second-degree theft. Kennesey Keawe, who has worked as an adult correctional officer for two decades, was arrested on similar charges.
He’s the brother of former baseyard supervisor Arnold Keawe Sr., who was arrested last year. Both Carabbacan and Kenessey Keawe still work for the state Department of Public Safety.
None of those arrested have been charged.
But HNN has confirmed that what began as a theft investigation has expanded to include alleged contracting violations. One of the DOT employees arrested — Steve Washiashi — is a purchasing employee with the department, which suggests insider deals with taxpayer money.
“It was a closely knit group that were was using the procurement process to either purchase equipment or purchase material that were used for either personal use or business use,” said Lee.
Carabbacan told HNN the Attorney General’s Office is investigating a vehicle repair shop he owns. He said his business did about $140,000 of repair work for the baseyard.
Carabbacan said he has been relieved of his police duties since his arrest…