The businessman at the center of the corruption scandal has not been charged but has a history of legal campaign donations

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — The attorney for the businessman at the center of the state capitol corruption scandal says court campaign contributions don’t mean he’s guilty of bribery.

Businessman Milton Choy has not been charged and has spent years backing dozens of politicians, including the two now charged with corruption. Much of the legal donations focused on Maui.

Attorney Michael Green is representing Choy.

He will not confirm that Choy cooperated with the investigation of former Senate Majority Leader Kalani English and State Rep. Ty Cullen.

The two will plead guilty to a crime and face years behind bars.

However, multiple sources identified Choy as the businessman who allegedly gave English and Cullen thousands of dollars in cash and gifts.

And on Friday, 13 state senators who received campaign donations from Choy said they would donate his donations to the Campaign Expenses Committee to help publicly fund other candidates.

Businessman Milton Choy (right) alongside former Senate Majority Leader Kalani English in this undated photograph.(Legislature)

Retired federal public defender Alexander Silvert says it’s possible Choy felt coerced or extorted by the two politicians charged in the scandal and willingly came forward to federal authorities.

He added that another scenario could be “the FBI was looking into campaign contributions or tax issues…ran into him and confronted him and individual A started cooperating.”

“If Individual A really came forward on his own and started cooperating without getting caught first, he might not even be charged at all,” Silvert said.

Choy and his associates have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal campaign donations, and Maui politicians have gotten more than most.

Nearly $60,000 went to gubernatorial candidates and David Ige received half of that. More than $133,000 went to state senators, including $19,000 to English.

House candidates received $45,000; Cullen received $11,000 for it.

Maui applicants for all positions earned the most points – over $65,000.

More than $11,000 went to former Maui senator and Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui. This could be because Choy’s businesses were facing a big problem on Maui: sewage management.

His attorney says the legal donations don’t prove bribery and possibly the opposite.

“Normally, if you were doing something like this that’s corrupt, you wouldn’t see it in a way that everyone would know how much a particular person is contributing,” Green said.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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