Jewell Strikes Back

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ATLANTA: The security guard who was suspected, then cleared, in the Olympic Park bombing continues to strike back at his pursuers. Richard Jewell is suing the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which broke the story that he had been identified as a possible suspect, as well as Georgia’s Piedmont College, his former employer. His lawyer did not disclose the amount sought in damages. In December, Jewell settled a suit against NBC for a reported $500,000. He claims the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and officials at Piedmont College made false and defamatory statements about him after a law enforcement source leaked his name to reporters. Television and print reporters besieged his apartment for days afterward, while federal agents carted off his possessions as possible evidence in the case. Jewell's attorney predicted a "long and hard-fought battle against a billion-dollar corporation that tried and convicted Richard Jewell for a crime he did not commit." Jewell was cleared last October after a three-month investigation. TIME's Adam Cohen, who covered the bombing and the Jewell case in Atlanta, thinks the lawsuit could have a chilling effect on future coverage of similar events: "Obviously, people's privacy has to be protected, but if somebody really is the target of an investigation, there is a public benefit in publicizing it. His name has already been cleared with broad public recognition." Meanwhile, the FBI pursued a new lead that might tie three Washington State men to the bombing. An architect in Atlanta says he ran into a man an hour before the bomb tore through Centennial Park whose description fits one of the suspects in a Spokane jail. The witness says the he called and even faxed a sketch of the man to the FBI but never heard from authorities until a Spokane paper broke the story this week.