ATF Agent Sues Over Failed Davidian Raid
WACO, Texas (AP) _ A federal agent who infiltrated the Branch Davidian sect before an unsuccessful raid is suing a newspaper and a TV station, claiming they caused the gun battle between agents and the cultists.
Robert Rodriguez, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, claims that the Waco Tribune-Herald and KWTX-TV tipped off cult leader David Koresh to make money from coverage of the battle.
He also is suing the American Medical Transport. An employee for the service had tipped KWTX to the raid, federal investigators found.
Rodriguez is seeking unspecified damages, claiming emotional distress and mental anguish in the lawsuit filed Thursday.
The raid on Feb. 28, 1993, turned into a gun battle in which four ATF agents and six cult members were killed. A 51-day standoff ensued before a fire consumed the compound on April 19; Koresh and 78 others were killed, some by gunshot wounds.
Rodriguez left the compound shortly before the raid and was not injured.
An investigation found that Koresh was alerted to the raid after a chance conversation between a KWTX-TV cameraman near the compound and a mailman who turned out to be a cult member.
The lawsuit also alleges the Tribune-Herald broke two agreements Rodriguez says it made with the ATF on when a series about the cult would be published. The newspaper began the series the day before the raid.
Tribune-Herald Editor Bob Lott said the newspaper was not at fault for the failed raid and made no agreements to delay its series.
Lawyer Ric Bostwick, who represents KWTX, denied the allegations. American Medical Transport supervisors would not comment.
The lawsuit names as defendants Cox Texas Publications and Cox Enterprises, which own the Tribune-Herald; KWTX Broadcasting Co.; and Rural-Metro Corp. of New Mexico-Texas, also known as American Medical Transport.