The agency used the telephone tapes in its criminal investigation.
Ted Boehm, Boone County Sheriff, said compliance with the state’s Sunshine Law sparked the release of taped phone conversations Ricky Clemons had while in Boone County Jail.
The FBI collected the records from the jail in August.
The FBI could not release its information until it finished its criminal investigation of Clemons. Boehm said the FBI confirmed the conclusion of its investigation Dec. 5.
“We were done for our purposes,” said spokeswoman Bridget Patton of the FBI’s Kansas City bureau. “At that point, they can do what they want with them. It’s to their discretion.”
Patton said the FBI reviewed the tapes “based on allegations of witness intimidation, not on the part of Mr. Clemons.”
The FBI does not anticipate filing any charges, Patton said. The FBI returned the tapes to the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, and the department then released the recordings.
Under the Sunshine Law, government agencies have three business days in which to acknowledge a request for information or records. After the FBI inquiry ended, the sheriff’s department was obligated to release the tapes in a timely manner to those who requested them.
Boehm said university officials, whom he would not name, were informed by the sheriff’s department of the conclusion of the FBI investigation and given a heads-up regarding the release of the tapes.
All phone calls inmates make or receive at the jail are recorded, Boehm said. A recorded message at the beginning of each call reminds inmates, and the people they call, of the recording policy. Although it is not routine at the jail to review every taped phone conversation, the tapes exist as a resource for investigations should the need for them arise, Boehm said.
Clemons’ former attorney, Wally Bley, said Clemons “had to have known” that his conversations were being recorded.
“Everyone knows they’re being taped because they make an announcement before every phone conversation that their conversation is being monitored,” Bley said.
Boehm said he has not reviewed the tapes of Clemons’ phone conversations.
“I have yet had the time to sit and listen to these tapes,” Boehm said. “I have no idea what they have on them.”