NBC has reached an out-of-court settlement with Richard Jewell, the FBI’s initial suspect in the still-unsolved package bombing in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park last July.
The network and anchor Tom Brokaw, who covered the Olympics and reported on the bombing, were particular targets of Jewell’s wrath, after investigators conceded he was no longer a suspect in the bombings despite a barrage of media scrutiny that he said had tarnished his reputation.
In a terse statement, NBC said the network and Jewell’s lawyers had “resolved their differences after a vigorous and thoughtful exchange of views in which both sides defended the correctness of their positions.” NBC paid an undisclosed cash settlement to Jewell to avoid an anticipated lawsuit, but made no public apology and instead merely noted the resolution of the matter on Monday’s “NBC Nightly News.”
Network execs said they were prompted to settle by the prospect of a lengthy trial that could have forced them to reveal confidential sources.
Jewell also vowed to sue the FBI and the Atlanta Journal, which first reported that he was a suspect. Jewell, a security guard hired by AT&T for a latenight concert and initially considered a hero at the scene, abruptly canceled a planned interview with “Dateline NBC” and “Today” in late October after holding a press conference where he threatened to sue the web.