Court in San Francisco
turns down appeal
of Mirikitanis wife
A federal appeals court upheld yesterday the theft and extortion conviction of the wife of a former Honolulu city councilman, also convicted of corruption.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the appeal of Sharron Bynum, who was found guilty of theft and extortion in the same case as former Councilman Andy Mirikitani. She was acquitted on a bribery charge.
Bynum, 54, had challenged the constitutionality of a law making it illegal to engage in theft or bribery from an entity that receives federal funds.
Mirikitani, 47, was convicted July 3, 2001, of theft, bribery, extortion, wire fraud and witness tampering for offering two former aides large bonuses if they kicked back a share of the city's federal money to him.
State law allowed Mirikitani to remain in office until his sentencing, but he chose to retire three days before. He was eligible for retirement, having served in office for more than 10 years.
Bynum married Mirikitani a day before he was allowed to retire. Following their marriage, Mirikitani filed papers indicating that he was adding Bynum as his spouse, making her eligible for lifetime free medical and dental benefits.
Mirikitani is serving a four-year, three-month sentence at Nellis Federal Prison Camp near Las Vegas and is scheduled to be released Sept. 28, 2005.
Bynum is serving a one-year, nine-month sentence at the Carswell Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, and is scheduled to be released July 25.