Originally created 01/16/97

Jewell gets legislative pat on back



ATLANTA - Olympic park bombing hero-turned-suspect-turned-victim Richard Jewell got a pat on the back from the state House Wednesday.

Mr. Jewell, 34, the security guard who reported a bomb in a backpack before it blew up at the Olympic Centennial Park July 27 was honored with a resolution sponsored by Rep. Mitchell Kaye, R-Marietta.

"We commended him for his heroic acts," Mr. Kaye said.

The commendation came in a lengthy list of resolutions for honors voted on by legislators with no discussion. The most famous name on the list that was read aloud before the vote barely elicited acknowledgment from members chatting on the House floor.

Mr. Kaye said Mr. Jewell deserved the honor after what the former security guard went through last year, when FBI officials investigated him in the Olympic Park bombing.

During the investigation, Mr. Jewell lived in his mother's Atlanta apartment while a media mob camped outside.

U.S. Attorney Kent Alexander wrote a letter in October exonerating Mr. Jewell .

Last month, Mr. Jewell received a reported $500,000 settlement from NBC for incriminating statements made by news anchor Tom Brokaw.

"He was convicted in the media," Mr. Kaye said. The effects of the bombing, "would have been much worse if he hadn't put himself in harm's way to protect innocent people."

One woman died just after the blast and a Turkish cameraman died of a heart attack running to the scene to film the explosion.