FBI gathers Clemons’ jail phone records

Wednesday, August 20, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:18 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

COLUMBIA — Boone County authorities have given the FBI more than two dozen hours of recorded jailhouse phone conversations of former Missouri basketball player Ricky Clemons, Sheriff Ted Boehm said Tuesday.

The FBI declined to comment about why it gathered the phone recordings and incoming mail for Clemons, who is serving a 60-day sentence after pleading guilty to false imprisonment of his former girlfriend.

The NCAA is separately investigating allegations made by Clemons’ former girlfriend, Jessica Bunge, that he received cash and clothing and cheated on exams while playing for Missouri.

“I can confirm that we provided the FBI with the phone recordings and the mail of Ricky Clemons,” Boehm said.

Boehm’s comments were the first law enforcement acknowledgment of the FBI’s interest in Clemons, who was kicked off the basketball team and had his athletic scholarship revoked in July after a judge ordered him to jail.

He has been incarcerated since mid-July. Clemons is scheduled to be released Sunday. He will remain on probation.

Clemons’ attorney, Wally Bley, said he was unaware the FBI had any interest in his client.

“How many more twists can this sordid tale take?” Bley said.

Clemons is declining all interview requests, Bley said.

FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza in Kansas City said he could not comment.

Boehm said the FBI request came last week. The county jail supervisor, Maj. Warren Brewer, said his staff put some 28 hours of Clemons’ incoming and outgoing calls at the jail on compact discs for the FBI. Brewer said incoming and outgoing calls for prisoners are routinely recorded.

The AP had sought release of the recordings. But Brewer said the recordings, usually considered public records, could not be released “because they are part of an ongoing investigation.”

Clemons was a junior college transfer, a guard who averaged 14.2 points per game last season. He was arrested after a January incident in which Bunge said the athlete choked her in a headlock, yanked her hair and would not allow her to leave his Columbia apartment for about an hour after they argued.

The 23-year-old Clemons pleaded guilty in April to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment of Bunge.

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