Former state Sen. Marshall Ige said yesterday he would seek a public defender to represent him against criminal charges including first-degree theft, attempting to evade taxes and money laundering.
Two weeks ago the former legislator showed up in district court without an attorney for an initial appearance, and the hearing was continued. He also was without representation yesterday.
"Retainers are fairly high," Ige said outside the courtroom. "I guess I need to call the public defenders office."
He declined to comment further.
A preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 16 to determine whether Ige should stand trial on the charges. Ige has said he will plead not guilty.
A five-count criminal complaint accuses him of taking $30,000 from a California couple in 1998 in exchange for a promise to expunge their daughters Hawaii criminal record. Authorities allege Ige laundered the money through an associate and never paid taxes on it.
He also is charged with second-degree theft and second-degree extortion stemming from a separate incident in which he allegedly threatened an orchid farmer with eviction unless he was paid $7,000.
Ige, who lost his Senate seat representing Kaneohe and Kailua in Septembers Democratic primary election, was charged last year in an unrelated case with seven campaign spending violations. Ige has a scheduled March 27 trial date in that case.