(AP) The state Court of Appeals has upheld a judge’s ruling that Richard Jewell was a public figure when a newspaper identified him as a suspect in the 1996 bombing at Centennial Olympic Park.
The decision Wednesday was a setback for Jewell, who filed a libel suit against The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the FBI cleared him of wrongdoing three months after the bombing.
The appeals court also threw out a lower court’s order that reporters for the Journal-Constitution must identify their sources of information about Jewell.
Jewell, who was working as a park security guard during the 1996 Olympics, spotted the backpack that held the bomb that exploded on July 27, 1996, killing one woman and injuring 111 people.
While he was initially hailed as a hero for helping evacuate the park, he was later investigated by the FBI and identified as a suspect by the newspaper. The Justice Department cleared him three months later.
Jewell’s lawyer, Lin Wood, said he would ask the Georgia Supreme Court and, if necessary, the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
Jewell has settled similar lawsuits against ABC, NBC, CNN and Piedmont College, his former employer.