Concerns arise over Hawaii prosecutor son’s job

HONOLULU (AP) — The top prosecutor on the Hawaiian island where protesters were arrested for blocking construction of a giant telescope says it’s not a conflict of interest that his son works for a partner of the embattled project.

Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth’s 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 says he didn’t realize his son works for Caltech and wasn’t aware of the school’s telescope relationship. He says son’s work doesn’t involve the telescope.

The Hawaii attorney general hasn’t taken an official position on whether it’s a conflict of interest. Legal experts say Roth should step aside to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

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