Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A Jewell of a Decision

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

A Jewell of a Decision

Article excerpt

Once again, Richard Jewell has been tripped up by his own mouth. Right after the former security guard was cleared of involvement in the fatal 1996 bombing in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Jewell went looking for some deep pockets to sue. He found The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and its parent, Cox Enterprises Inc. Jewell claims the paper libeled him when it reported in an extra edition four days after the bombing that he was the focus of the fbi's investigation.

There was always one big problem with the lawsuit: The Journal- Constitution's story was true. Jewell was a suspect in the days after the bombing - and would not be formally cleared until three months later. Now the lawsuit has another problem. Jewell will have to prove that the Journal-Constitution acted with actual malice, as the lawyers say. That is, the stories were not only false, but the paper knew or didn't care that they were false. Trial Judge John R. Mather ruled Oct. 5 that Jewell made himself a public figure with his frequent media appearances in the days before the Journal-Constitution extra hit the streets. …

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