Feds charge former Democrat lawmakers in Hawaii with wire fraud

Defendants accused of taking money and other gifts in exchange for their support of certain legislation.

Published: February 9, 2022 12:33pm

Updated: February 9, 2022 10:57pm

(The Center Square) -

Two former Hawaii legislators are accused of taking money and other gifts in exchange for their support of certain bills.

Former Democrat state Sen. Jamie Kalani English, 54, is accused of taking in excess of $18,000 in cash, hotel rooms and other gifts between 2015 and 2020 and agreeing to introduce or kill bills, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Hawaii. He is charged with one count of honest services wire fraud.

English served in the Senate from 2000 to 2021 and at one point served as Senate majority leader.

Democrat state Rep. Ty Cullen, 41, resigned Tuesday after the U.S attorney announced Cullen also was facing a charge of honest services wire fraud.

Cullen is accused of accepting casino chips and cash "intended to influence his official actions as a legislator," according to the news release. Cullen is accused of accepting four cash payments totaling $23,000 from September 2019 to March 2020.

Cullen served in the House since 2013 and was vice chair of the Finance Committee.

English and Cullen could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined up to $250,000 if convicted, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii announced Tuesday applications are being accepted until Feb. 17 for Cullen's House seat. The party will meet Feb. 20 to decide on three people who would be submitted to Gov. David Ige.

Ige has until April 9 to make an appointment, according to the Democratic Party.

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