Bombing suspect passes polygraph test
Jewell considers civil suits
August 20, 1996
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Olympic bomb suspect Richard Jewell passed a lie detector test in which he denied any involvement in the deadly July 27 attack, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Tuesday.
A polygraph expert hired by the security guard's lawyers told the newspaper that the test results showed Jewell had nothing to do with the pipe bombing that left two people dead and more than 100 injured at downtown Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park.
"He didn't do it," Dick Rackleff, a former FBI agent now in private practice, said. "There's not any doubt in my mind. He had no knowledge about the bomb. The tests show he absolutely was not involved."
Jewell, 33, who was hailed as a hero in the immediate aftermath of the bombing, still remains a suspect in the FBI's investigation. He has steadfastly maintained his innocence.
While working as a security guard at an AT&T Olympic pavilion near the park, he discovered the green knapsack that contained the pipe bomb and helped police clear crowds from the area before it detonated.
In recent weeks, members of his legal team increasingly have gone public to support their client.
The Olympic bombing case may end up in court as a series of civil suits well before the FBI makes an arrest and takes its case to a jury.
Jewell is considering suing the FBI and news media over the public embarrassment that began when someone within the investigation leaked his name to the press as a suspect.
Meanwhile, victims of the bombing have already launched damage suits against Jewell, AT&T Corp. and the security firm hired by AT&T to work at the park.
The FBI is still looking at evidence from the bombing and trying to match it to suspects. Thorough searches of Jewell's property have failed to lead to an arrest, but authorities say they still regard him as suspect.
Lin Wood, one of four attorneys hired by Jewell, is concerned with what has happened so far in the investigation.
"We have to look into whether there has been a violation of his civil rights or his constitutional rights," said Wood.
Since The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported shortly after the bombing that Jewell was a suspect, there has been little peace for the security guard.
"For him to now be put up to the public as the Olympic bomber, for him to be portrayed in that fashion, to be convicted without ever being charged is just not right," insisted Wayne Grant, another Jewell attorney.
Wood said it would take weeks to determine whether Jewell would take legal action against groups he sees as persecuting him.
"We'll be looking at everyone involved from the initial time when apparently it was leaked that he was a suspect," said Wood.
But legal analysts like Jerry Froelich are skeptical that Jewell could win any suit against the media or FBI.
"Truth is an absolute defense, and all they've been saying is he's a suspect," said Froelich.
Other analysts point out that it is unlikely the source of the leak from the bombing investigation will ever be uncovered. They believe the FBI may have intentionally let Jewell's name slip to put pressure on him and to reassure the public that authorities were taking swift action in the case.
Correspondent Charles Zewe and Reuters contributed to this report.
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