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Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Mirikitani indicted for extortion, theft, bribery, fraud - Federal grand jury has six counts against Honolulu city councilman

Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu City Councilman Andy Mirikitani was today indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of theft, bribery, extortion, witness tampering, and wire fraud.

The charges are tied to allegations that Mirikitani gave bonuses to two of his staff aides and then asked for kickbacks.

Also indicted was Sharron Bynum, 52, Mirikitani&'s girlfriend.

Mirikitani,45, could not be reached for comment. U.S. Attorney Steve Alm said that Mirikitani has been notified of the indictment. He noted that indictments are not evidence of guilt and that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The indictment charges Miritikani with wire fraud (Count 1), theft concerning programs receiving federal funds (Count 2), bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds (Count 3), extortion (Count 4), and witness tampering (Counts 5 and 6).

Bynum is charged with aiding and abetting Mirikitani in the theft (Count 2), bribery (Count 3) and extortion (Count 4).

The indictment alleges that Mirikitani engaged in a scheme to defraud the City and County of Honolulu of funds and to convert these funds to the Friends of Andy Mirikitani and Mirikitani&'s own use.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that Mirikitani offered a bonus to two City and County employees on the condition that the employee proivide a campign contribution to the Friends of Andy Mirikitani. The indictment further alleges that after Mirikitani approved a bonus for the two employees, the employees provided Mirikitani apporximately $6,884 of bonus money for Mirikitani&'s benefit and for the benefit of the Friends of Andy Mirikitani.

The indictment further alleges that in February, 2000, Mirikitani attempted to persuade a person identified in the indictment as "C.M." with the intent to influence C.M.&'s testimony in an official proceeding and to prevent C.M.&'s communication of information to law enforcement.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. attorney&'s office.

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