By Mark Matsunaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
After deliberating a little more than one day, the jury in Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele's federal trial yesterday indicated it can't reach a verdict on two of the three counts.
Judge Helen Gillmor said she would decide overnight whether she'll declare a mistrial or have the jury continue deliberating. She will make an announcement today.
Kanahele, head of the self-proclaimed Hawaiian group the Nation of Hawaii, is on trial for harboring federal fugitive Nathan Brown and thwarting two attempts to arrest Brown.
The jury began deliberations Friday afternoon and resumed mid-morning yesterday. They sent two noted to the judge asking for clarification about the case.
At 3:10 p.m., the jury sent a another message to Gillmor saying, "We are at an impasse. We have voted and are unable to come to an agreement as to a verdict on counts 2 and 3."
Gillmor called the attorneys before her, heard their arguments on what to do next and said she would announce her decision this morning.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Les Osborne said the jury has not been deliberating very long and urged Gillmor to instruct it to continue deliberations.
Kanahele's attorney, Hayden Aluli, said that would be improper. He asked the judge to declare a mistrial on the two counts.
Osborne said the jury "really hasn't deliberated any time at all" - not enough time to go over almost three weeks of testimony.
Aluli said, "We don't want to coerce any juror into reaching or rushing to judgment." The judge has the authority to declare a mistrial at this point and should accept the jury's note and do so, he said.
If a mistrial is declared, Kanahele could be retried on two counts. The counts carry maximum penalties of three and five years in prison, although those maximum terms are rarely meted out under federal sentencing guidelines.
Aluli assumed the jury has reached a verdict on count 1 because it wasn't mentioned in the note to the judge.
That count, a misdemeanor, involves Kanahele and his head of security, Gordon Kaaihue, who are accused of blocking a police attempt to arrest Brown in January 1994.
But there was no indication yesterday if a verdict was reached on that count or what it might be.
Aluli says Kanahele is a victim of "selective, vindictive prosecution" by the federal government because of his prominent activism for Hawaiian independence.
Kanahele was chosen "head of state" by a council of elders for the nation, which claims at least 2,500 members and declared its independence from the state and federal governments last year.
The federal government says this trial involves clear violations of federal laws and that Kanahele's political beliefs have nothing to do with the case.
Kanahele has been held without bail since he was secretly indicted and arrested Aug. 2.
Advertiser Courts writer Ken Kobayashi contributed to this report.
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