HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii judge fined a Virginia attorney $250 for statements he made during the trial of a federal agent charged with murder in a 2011 shooting inside a Waikiki McDonald’s restaurant.
Virginia lawyer Karl Blanke is one of the attorneys representing State Department Special Agent Christopher Deedy, whose trial ended with a deadlocked jury in August.
Free on $250,000 bail, Deedy has returned home to Arlington, and jury selection for a retrial is scheduled for June. He maintains he acted in self-defense and was protecting others from an aggressive man. He was in Honolulu to help with security for an international economic summit but was off-duty during the early morning encounter at the fast food eatery.
Circuit Judge Karen Ahn on Monday imposed the fine because Blanke mentioned that Kollin Elderts, the man Deedy shot, had resisted arrest in a prior case. Ahn says she thought Blanke knew he was prohibited from mentioning that detail to jurors.
“It was part of the argument to win,” Ahn said.
Prosecutors wanted a $1,000 fine and for the judge to bar Blanke from practicing law in Hawaii. Ahn declined to revoke Blanke’s permission to continue representing Deedy in Hawaii. Blanke didn’t attend the hearing and couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
Deedy’s main lawyer, Thomas Otake, said Blanke’s remarks were a “reasonable inference” from earlier testimony. During closing arguments, Blanke told the jury Elderts had been arrested previously and had “resisted arrest.”
The prosecution objected and Ahn told jurors to disregard Blanke’s remarks.
The prosecution wanted the prior arrest excluded from trial. Ahn limited the testimony and questions the defense could ask the police officer who was involved with Elderts’ 2008 arrest, which led to a disorderly conduct conviction.
Deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa argued that Blanke acted unprofessionally and in “bad faith.”