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Friday, February 2, 2001

Former state senator
gets public defender

By Rick Daysog

A state judge today approved a public defender to represent former state Sen. Marshall Ige from criminal theft, extortion and money laundering charges.

Ige, who appeared in Honolulu District Court this morning for an initial appearance, said he's having trouble finding an attorney to represent him.

Ige has said that he plans to plead not guilty to the charges at the Feb. 16 hearing, but he declined to discuss the specific allegations.

District Judge Tenney Tong also set a Feb. 16 date for a preliminary hearing to examine whether the state has probable cause to charge the former Windward Oahu legislator.

In a five-count criminal complaint filed on Jan. 18, the state attorney general's office alleged that Ige took $30,000 from an elderly couple in 1998 and laundered the proceeds through a third party.

The state also alleged that Ige took $7,000 from a Windward Oahu farmer after threatening to evict the farmer.

Ige said that he has repaid most of the money.

Mike McCarthy, an attorney representing Ige in a separate case, has said the theft charges involve a civil dispute and should not be subject to criminal prosecution.

Ige also faces criminal campaign spending charges for failing to report campaign contributions. Ige has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanors, which will be the subject of a March 27 trial.

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