HONOLULU — A former Maui police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to fraud charges after prosecutors accused him of soliciting sex from a woman he pulled over for driving while intoxicated.
Defendant Brandon Saffeels, 36, said he offered to help the woman by botching his testimony in the 2019 traffic stop and eventually wanted to pursue a sexual relationship with her.
Prosecutors say he got the woman’s phone number from a police report and then solicited a bribe in the form of sexual favors in exchange for helping her circumvent prosecution.
“Eventually I wanted to pursue it into a sexual relationship,” Saffeels said when he appeared in court via a video link and pleaded guilty to seven counts of honest services wire fraud. “I was gonna throw my testimony, pretty much.”
Each count carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.
In one text message, Saffeels told the woman he could help get the case thrown out and that it was a good thing she didn’t take a breath or blood test, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mohammad Khatib said.
Saffeels also instructed the woman to go to his house and bring clothes, Khatib added.
Maui prosecutors dropped the charge against the woman after portions of the text messages and recorded phone conversations were published by the media.