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Jury begins deliberations in Kanahele federal trial

The Honolulu Advertiser
Saturday, October 28, 1995, page A3

By Mark Matsunaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

A federal jury will resume deliberations Tuesday (sic - Monday) in the trial of Hawaiian sovereignty activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele on charges that he harbored a fugitive.

The jury of seven women and five men spent almost four hours deliberating yesterday afternoon, then went home for the weekend.

Earlier yesterday, in closing arguments, Kanahele's attorney, Hayden Aluli, painted the case as a historic political trial: an "overreaction to the Hawaiian sovereignty movement" and to "the most outspoken, and direct-action, prominent leader of a Hawaiian sovereignty organization."

The prosecutor, assistant U.S. attorney Les Osborne, disagreed. "This case is all about disrespect for the law, disrespect for authority and disrespect for the safety of others," Osborne said.

Kanahele is charged with harboring tax protester Nathan Brown and with thwarting two 1994 attempts to arrest Brown on a bench warrant that was issued after he failed to show up to server a 6-1/2 year prison sentence for his tax fraud conviction. Brown remains at large.

Kanahele, in custody without bail, contends he was trying to educate police in the first incident and was acting in self-defense to protect his property in the second incident.

Kanahele, 41, a high-school drop-out, is "head of state" of the self-proclaimed Nation of Hawaii. Kanahele and his supporters have declared their independence from the state and federal governments, which they say are illegally occupying the Islands.

Throughout the trial, Judge Helen Gillmor rejected Aluli's attempts to bring sovereignty into the case. Yesterday , she instructed the jurors that the "apology bill" cannot be used as a justification or a defense of Kanahele's actions.

Nonetheless, Aluli spent part of his closing statement reading passages from Public Law 103-150, the congressional resolution apologizing for the U.S. role in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom.

Osborne called the overthrow a "great disaster," but said the people of Hawaii voted in 1959 to join the United State and brought themselves under its laws. (Web editor's note: see Article 73 for part of the reason why this statement is untrue...)

"This is not a political trial," said Osborne. "It's about helping a felon go free."

All 82 seats in the gallery of Gillmor's courtroom were filled for yesterday's closing arguments, most by Kanahele's relatives and supporters.

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