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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 16, 2002

Mansho's attorney defends her entreaties for support

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser City Hall Writer

An attorney for Rene Mansho said the former city councilwoman is simply exercising her legal right in asking for letters of support prior to her sentencing next month for felony theft.

Rene Mansho last month pleaded guilty to felony theft charges.

Advertiser library photo

Mansho has e-mailed city employees and others in the community, asking them to send a letter of support to the judge who will sentence her.

Mansho attorney James Koshiba had declined to comment on the case until yesterday when he issued a two-paragraph statement. He said the probation department encouraged Mansho to seek letters of support for the court to consider in her sentencing.

Mansho, 52, pleaded guilty last month to felony theft charges. She agreed to pay a $25,000 fine and could face as much as 10 years in prison when sentenced June 26-27.

One city councilman described the e-mailed appeal as "tacky," while city deputy prosecutor Kevin Takata said it is "an obvious and desperate attempt to avoid jail."

Koshiba fired back in his statement: "Lawyers, public and private, are governed by rules of professional conduct and I have made it a practice not to make extrajudicial comments about a pending matter. It is unprofessional, if not unethical, to make such comments — but in light of the ongoing media circus vilifying Rene, it is important for Rene, her family and her legions of supporters that something be said on her behalf."

It is not clear how many people received or responded to the e-mail.

City Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto urged those considering the support to consider the serious nature of the theft charges that Mansho has pleaded guilty to and encouraged them to look at the report detailing the investigation and at her admission of various acts over the years.