Vegas police nab woman wanted for trial in Hawaii
A hearing is set for Monday on Otsuka's possible extradition
A former Maui beauty queen awaiting trial on theft and forgery charges here has been arrested by Las Vegas police after she failed to appear in Honolulu Circuit Court last month.
A hearing for Lisa-Katherine Otsuka, 37, is scheduled for Monday in Las Vegas to determine whether she will be extradited, her attorney, William Harrison, confirmed yesterday.
Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario ordered that a bench warrant be issued for Otsuka's arrest after she failed to appear on Oct. 16 and 19 in anticipation of her Oct. 23 trial.
On Thursday, Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said he learned Otsuka had been arrested in Las Vegas and was in custody on the bench warrant. He filed a request to have Otsuka committed without bail upon her return to Hawaii for violating conditions of her bail. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.
In March 2003, then-Circuit Judge Sandra Simms granted Otsuka's request to reduce bail but, as a condition, ordered her not to leave this jurisdiction unless she received permission from the court. Otsuka was present at that hearing.
Harrison said he objected to the issuance of the bench warrant because Otsuka, who now lives in Las Vegas, had legitimate reasons for not appearing in court. Otsuka did not return because she is having difficulties with her latest pregnancy and has been ordered to complete bed rest. She has a history of miscarriages, he said.
"She kept in contact with her bail bondsman; we all knew where she was," he said. "For whatever reason -- I think it's politically motivated -- they rushed this warrant to be served on two Class C felonies when Class A felony warrants are outstanding in Hawaii."
Van Marter said Otsuka's representations to the court about her medical condition and failure to appear are "suspect and should be taken with a grain of salt given the nature of the charges and her prior history."
"Her deliberate manipulation of the system on the eve of trial for the third time she gets pregnant -- all this will come out at the bail hearing."
It has been four years since Otsuka was indicted, and she has yet to go to trial.
Otsuka first made headlines in the fall of 2002 when her name surfaced during the city prosecutor's investigation into then-Mayor Jeremy Harris' political campaign. She allegedly was paid $300,000 by a former consultant to the campaign and was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury. Harris denied knowing Otsuka.
Otsuka was subsequently indicted in October 2002 on unrelated charges in two separate criminal cases. She is charged with stealing $12,000 from former employer Hon/Hawaii Service Inc. by forging company checks while employed as a bookkeeper in 1999. Hon/Hawaii, a Kakaako auto repair shop owned by former state Rep. Bev Harbin, has since closed.
In the second case, she is accused of stealing $3,000 in 2001 from a nonprofit Tahitian dance troupe. Manutahi had raised the money so the group could participate in a Maui and Tahiti competition. According to court documents, she later told the group she had misplaced the money and could not replace it.
After numerous delays, five attorneys and becoming pregnant with her second child, Otsuka was warned by Del Rosario in July 2005 that if she fired her sixth lawyer, the court would consider it as waiving her right to counsel and that she would have to represent herself at trial.