4 men plead not guilty to racketeering
Four men accused of engaging in illegal gambling and resorting to murder as part of a plan to take control of organized crime statewide pleaded not guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court.
Rodney Joseph Jr., Kevin A. Gonsalves, Kai Ming Wang and Siaosi Alapati appeared before U.S. Magistrate Leslie Kobayashi yesterday to answer to the newest charges contained in a superseding indictment filed last week.
An indictment accused Joseph, Gonsalves, Wang and Alapati of operating a racketeering organization and engaging in robbery and assault to further their racketeering.
Also charged in the new indictment was Ethan Motta of the Big Island. Motta pleaded not guilty to the charges last week.
Joseph, Gonsalves and Motta are currently awaiting trial in early August in state Circuit Court in the murder of two men at Pali Golf Course in January 2004. U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo said last week that the shooting stemmed from rivalry between two groups vying for control of protection for Wang's illegal gambling businesses.
Kobayashi gave the parties more time to prepare for trial. The May trial date was moved to Oct. 24. She said the postponement was warranted based on the nature of the charges and the potential for the case to be designated a death penalty case by the U.S. attorney general.
William Harrison, counsel for Wang, said he intends to file a motion to have his client tried separately from his co-defendants because he is not involved in any of the capital crimes they are accused of. "It's a simple gambling case and we're ready to proceed."
Attorneys for Joseph and Alapati could not be reached for comment.
Cliff Hunt, attorney for Gonsalves, said his client is innocent and that the new indictment was the result of "sour grapes" by state prosecutors who were denied permission to use Joseph's confession at trial because he was denied his constitutional right against self-incrimination.*
Thursday, April 13, 2006
» The state Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling denying the use of the confession of Pali Golf Course shooting suspect Rodney Joseph because he was denied his constitutional right against self-incrimination. A Page A4 article on April 4 incorrectly reported that Cliff Hunt, attorney for another suspect in the shooting, Kevin Gonsalves, said the high court disallowed the confession because the attorney representing Joseph at the time was ineffective.