|TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush and the Clemency Board restored
the civil rights Thursday of the FBI agent convicted of destroying
records while investigating the agency's role in the deadly 1992
shootout at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
E. Michael Kahoe, a former
head of the FBI's violent crime and major offenders section, pleaded
guilty in 1997 to obstruction of justice for ordering the
destruction of an FBI report into the 1992 fatal shooting at the
cabin of white separatist Randall Weaver.
Convicted felons cannot
vote in Florida unless their rights are restored by the Clemency
Board, which is made up of the governor and Cabinet. The board did
not restore Kahoe's right to own, possess or use a gun.
recounted the details of the shootout, his role in investigating the
FBI's actions and his decision to destroy a report to be sent to the
U.S. attorney in Idaho. The report could have been used by lawyers
representing Weaver, whose wife and son were killed during a
nine-day standoff with government agents at Weaver's rural
``I read the memorandum, told the supporter who wrote
it to throw his copy away. I kept my copy and did not file the
memorandum,'' Kahoe told the board. ``I didn't file it because I
thought at that time the memorandum was useless.''
that he spent more than $100,000 defending himself before the
Department of Justice offered him a deal just months before his
retirement: plead guilty and stay on the FBI rolls until his
retirement or be fired, forfeit his retirement and face an
indictment. He served one year, 20 days in federal prison and
completed two years probation.
``I'd like to have my civil
rights restored because I'd like to vote,'' Kahoe said. ``I haven't
been able to vote. I don't attempt to justify what I did. I should
not have told this individual to throw the memorandum away. I should
have filed my copy of the memorandum. The memorandum exists, it
always has existed, it's here today if anyone cares to read
He said he now owns an employee leasing business in
``It has approximately 40 employees, we provide
their health insurance, their vacation, when the stock market gets
better we'll have a 401k as well,'' Kahoe said.
None of the
board members objected to Bush's recommendation that Kahoe's rights
Later, Bush said, ``It's a fascinating story. He
admitted his wrong doing, which is important. He served his time, he
paid his debts. He participated in something that he regretted and I
was happy to be a part of giving him a chance to have his rights