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Former FBI section chief pleads guilty, admits destroying Ruby Ridge report

kahoe October 30, 1996
Web posted at: 1:50 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An FBI executive pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice Wednesday after admitting in federal court that he had destroyed an internal FBI report criticizing the bureau's handling of the 1992 siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

As part of his plea, E. Michael Kahoe agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors looking into the possibility that other FBI officials were involved in a cover-up of the actions that took place during the nine-day standoff outside white separatist Randy Weaver's mountain cabin.

standoff Weaver's wife and son, and a federal marshal were shot to death during the nine-day standoff.

The lead federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Michael Stiles, said he has not promised Kahoe he will remain out of prison. Kahoe could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, the judge granted the prosecutor's request that no sentencing date be set, and that Kahoe be released without posting bond.

Moments before Kahoe pleaded guilty in open court, prosecutors described what they said were Kahoe's illegal actions.

Government attorney Eric Sitarchuk said Kahoe had thrown all of his copies of the "after-action" report into his trash can to be shredded and had ordered a subordinate, Gale Evans, to destroy all other copies. He said Kahoe had previously met with Justice Department officials several times, and had promised to turn over all key documents requested by federal prosecutors.

However, Sitarchuk said Kahoe had been determined to keep the internal FBI criticism of its Ruby Ridge actions out of the hands of prosecutors trying Weaver in Idaho.

Sitarchuk said Kahoe told Evans, "to make it like the Ruby Ridge after-action critique had never existed."

Kahoe refused to comment as he left the courthouse. His lawyer, Jim Richmond, told reporters, "I'll have plenty to say later, but it's not the right time now."

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