BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Lawyers representing Eric Rudolph (search) in an abortion clinic bombing (search) have asked the government for information on security guard Richard Jewell (search), who was investigated but never charged in the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta.
Rudolph is charged with the Olympic bombing as well as the bombing that killed a police officer and critically injured a nurse at a women's clinic in Birmingham. Court documents made public Monday indicate Rudolph's attorneys are seeking government documents about Jewell as they try to show someone other than Rudolph is to blame.
Jewell was never charged. The FBI cleared him three months after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported he was being investigated in the Olympic bombing that killed one woman and injured 111 people. Jewell's lawsuit against the newspaper is still pending.
The government hasn't turned over the material on Jewell nearly two months after Rudolph's lawyers requested it during a closed-door conference, but Rudolph attorney Richard Jaffe said he expects to receive it. "I don't have any complaints," he said.
Jaffe brought up Jewell's name during a private meeting with the judge and prosecutors on Sept. 3, according to a transcript released Monday.
In the meeting, Jaffe requested access to government documents on Jewell, arguing that at one point Jewell was "a real suspect" in the Olympic bombing.
If someone other than Rudolph could be proven to have committed that bombing, Jaffe argued, the government's theory that Rudolph planted bombs at the Olympics and the abortion clinic would be wrong.
Prosecutors did not oppose Jaffe's request. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant only wondered aloud how to get Jaffe the information because the huge number of documents spread between Atlanta and Birmingham.
Another Birmingham prosecutor, William Chambers, said the government also had "some suspects here besides Eric Rudolph" and would provide the defense with information on those people.
Prosecutors have asked a judge to set a June 1 trial for Rudolph, who could receive the death penalty in the explosion that went off outside the clinic on Jan. 29, 1998. Besides the Olympic bombing, Rudolph is charged with bombings at a gay nightclub and an abortion clinic in Atlanta in 1997.