(AP) The Georgia Supreme Court has declined to consider the appeal of Richard Jewell in the former Olympic security guard’s libel lawsuit against The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The court decided 6-1 against hearing the case. Jewell had challenged the Court of Appeals’ ruling that he was a public figure by the time he was identified as a suspect in the 1996 bombing at Centennial Olympic Park.
The Supreme Court also upheld the lower court’s ruling that the newspaper did not need to identify its confidential sources of information about Jewell.
“The quest for justice for Richard Jewell now will move to the U.S. Supreme Court, and hopefully he will achieve justice there,” Jewell’s lawyer, Lin Wood, said after Monday’s ruling.
The newspaper’s lawyer, Peter Canfield, said the high court “recognized that the Court of Appeals correctly applied the law in this case.”
Jewell spotted the backpack that held a 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.
Since 1999, courts have ruled that Jewell became a public person when he was interviewed by the media about his hero’s role. That finding raised Jewell’s legal burden because a public figure must show that a publication not only printed an inaccuracy but that it knew or suspected the information to be false.