Jury convicts Kaialau
The former coach is guilty of using violence against operators of illegal gambling rooms
A security man for illegal game rooms was convicted yesterday of extorting and threatening the businesses with physical and economic harm through violence.
Robert Kaialau, 37, a former riflery coach at Kapolei High School, was the last of 11 defendants prosecuted in U.S. District Court for a violent act in the aid of racketeering activity and three counts of using a deadly weapon.
Ten co-defendants indicted along with Kaialau reached agreements with the government and pleaded guilty. Eight individuals, including those hired as security by Kaialau, testified against him at trial.
It took the jury three days of deliberations before finding him guilty late yesterday. Kaialau, who has been using crutches since suffering an injury at the federal detention center, appeared stoic as the verdict was read, but family members, including his mother, wept as the proceedings ended.
"We love you," they said as they exited the courtroom.
Kaialau took the stand in his defense and maintained he was not involved in illegal gambling activities until he was asked by a former police officer David Brown, whom he met in 2001, to infiltrate the game rooms and obtain information about their operations.
Kaialau was working as a security guard at nightclubs around town when he said he was recruited in 2003 by one of the owners of the illegal game rooms to provide security at various locations.
Brown, a member of the Honolulu Police Department's Criminal Intelligence Unit, testified that he was not assigned to infiltrate gambling operations in Honolulu in 2003 and did not use Kaialau as an undercover informant.
Kaialau denied being present at a Young Street game room on July 30 and a Kapiolani Boulevard game room on Aug. 3 when members of rival security groups were assaulted with baseball bats. Testimony by his co-defendants revealed Kaialau had them wear masks and dark blue T-shirts emblazoned with "HPD" across the back when they assaulted security at the Young Street game room.
Government prosecutors maintained Kaialau and his co-defendants seized control of the game rooms through intimidation, violence and threats of physical and economic harm.
Kaialau faces 20 years on each of the four counts. He will be sentenced on March 24. His co-defendants also are awaiting sentencing.