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Community | 9
DECEMBER 2019 ■ www.ReporterNewspapers.net
From left, panelists Bert Roughton, former senior managing editor at the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, and “The Suspect” co-authors Kent Alexander and Kevin
Salwen, joined by moderator John Pruitt, listen to an introduction by Atlanta
History Center President and CEO Sheffield Hale at the Nov. 12 panel discussion.
just encourage everybody not to prejudge
the movie,” Alexander said.
Salwen said the book leaves moral les
sons up to the readers to conclude, be
cause “it’s not so, necessarily, black-and-
The FBI’s obsession with Jewell was
one of those gray areas, Alexander and
Salwen said. Jewell was one of three ma
jor suspects, Alexander said, but added
that the FBI had some cause to zero in on
him with their theory that he planted the
bomb to look like a hero.
But the FBI also delayed the use of oth
er evidence while focusing on Jewell, Al
exander said. One witness described a
suspect at the bomb scene who later was
confirmed to be Rudolph. “That will haunt
me forever,” Alexander said.
At the AJC, Scruggs’ scoop about the in
vestigation turned into the paper’s most
notorious and controversial story. Rough-
ton strongly defended its publication,
while acknowledging some mixed feel
ings and certain personal qualms he had
with it then and now. He also disagreed
with Alexander and Salwen’s assertions
that the paper may have rushed the story
due to competitive pressure.
“Fine, I’m happy to be a pinata,” Rough-
ton joked at one point. But he later said,
“We lose track of the fact that we’re writ-
Continued on page 10
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