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Friday, August 25, 2000

State of Hawaii

State can proceed
with prosecution
of Ige, judge rules

The criminal complaint alleges
Ige failed to report campaign
contributions, and other violations

By Rick Daysog

The attorney general's office can proceed with all seven criminal charges against state Sen. Marshall Ige, a state judge ruled today.

Circuit Judge Sandra Simms denied six dismissal motions filed by Ige's lawyers, saying the attorney general's charges were "properly instituted."

On Wednesday, Simms rejected another dismissal motion by Ige and denied his motion to suppress evidence obtained in his interviews with state investigators.

Ige (D, Kaneohe) said he was disappointed by the ruling, but said he looked forward to proving his innocence at trial.

"Someone has to take the blame for the millions of dollars that the state spent on investigating the Bishop Estate," said Ige, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges. "I guess I'm going to have to take the blame."

Deputy Attorney General Kurt Spohn said he hopes the trial can be scheduled as soon as possible.

The state's seven-count criminal complaint, which was filed in July 1999, alleged that Ige failed to report campaign contributions, failed to disclose a campaign deficit and accepted an improper campaign loan.

The charges, which are misdemeanors, stem from the state's investigation of the Kamehameha Schools and its former trustees. The state has alleged that the estate's outside vendors illegally paid Ige's campaign debts. If convicted, Ige faces up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,000 for each count.

Ige's lawyers had argued that the two-year statute of limitations for the state's charges had lapsed. However, Simms ruled that alleged violations cited by the state's case occurred in 1995 when the statute of limitations was extended to five years.

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