Prosecutor son's job prompts turning over telescope arrests

ABC News | 9/18/2019 | Staff
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To avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, the Hawaii attorney general's office will take over prosecution of protesters arrested for blocking construction of a giant telescope.

Big Island prosecutor Mitch Roth said Wednesday he turned over the cases in response to an Associated Press story highlighting concerns that his son's employment with a telescope partner is a possible conflict.

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His son works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Those who work at that research facility are employed by the California Institute of Technology, a Thirty Meter Telescope partner.

Roth said he doesn't believe it's a conflict, but he asked for opinions from the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel and the county's ethics board. Roth said his wife's employment at another Big Island telescope is also not a conflict.

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"We want to take the high road in all of this and be as ethical as possible," he said. "We stand by our earlier position. We don't believe there is an actual conflict."

About three dozen mostly elderly protesters were arrested for blocking the road leading to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ABC News
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