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Jewell Lawyers Demand Printed Retraction

Thu., Nov. 7, 1996

Richard Jewell demanded Wednesday that a newspaper retract the reports it published about him while he was a suspect in the Olympic park bombing.

The demand came in a letter to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution which also said Jewell planned to file a lawsuit against the newspaper within days.

Newspaper attorney Peter C. Canfield said he had not seen the letter and could not comment. Editor Ron Martin also declined comment.

Previously, Martin called the coverage of the Olympic Park bombing investigation “accurate and appropriate.” He also said Jewell’s attorneys were trying to portray the story as one of “Jewell vs. the media.”

Jewell’s attorney Lin Wood said he didn’t expect the paper to print a retraction since it has defended its reports.

“I’d be surprised if they do,” Wood said.

Jewell, 33, was working as a private security guard in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta when a pipe bomb exploded before dawn on July 27, killing one person and injuring more than 100.

His name was leaked to the media as a suspect and he became the center of intense coverage. Federal prosecutors last month said Jewell was no longer a suspect in the bombing. No one has been charged.

The letter to the newspaper asks for a retraction within seven days in a conspicuous location in the paper. It cites a number of stories, headlines and columns including a July 30 article that read: “Richard Jewell, 33, a former law enforcement officer, fits the profile of the lone bomber.”

The letter also said a Journal-Constitution column that compared Jewell to convicted killer Wayne Williams, who was linked to Atlanta’s missing and murdered children, was libelous.

The lawsuit was expected to name the newspapers, the reporters and the papers’ parent company, Cox Enterprises Inc., Wood said.

“We’re prepared for a fight,” he said.

NBC and news anchor Tom Brokaw also can expect to receive a retraction demand next week for its coverage of the case, Wood said.


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