July 29, 1997 in Nation/World

Jewell’s Rights Probably Violated By Agents, Fbi Director Testifies

Associated Press

FBI agents probably violated Richard Jewell’s constitutional rights last year while questioning him about the bombing at the Atlanta Olympic Games, FBI Director Louis Freeh said Monday.

Testifying before a Senate judiciary subcommittee, Freeh said any incriminating information Jewell might have provided likely would not have been allowed in court because the FBI tried to trick him into giving up his right to a lawyer.

“Had he said something adverse to his interests, his constitutional rights would have been violated,” Freeh said.

Jewell, a security guard who discovered the bomb before it exploded in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, was exonerated by the Justice Department last fall after several months in which he was the focus of both the investigation and intense media scrutiny.

When he first came to the FBI’s attention as it investigated the bombing, Jewell was questioned by FBI agents who pretended they wanted him to participate in a training video about responding to bombing scenes. As part of the ruse, he was warned of his right to remain silent and have a lawyer present and was asked to waive those rights.

The Justice Department, in a report released Monday, concluded that it was “a major error in judgment” for FBI agents to use such deception to get Jewell to waive his rights.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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