Injured deputy to file lawsuit over Atlanta courthouse attack

The Associated Press

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ATLANTA--The deputy who was severely beaten and had her gun stolen allegedly by a rape defendant who went on a shooting spree at a downtown courthouse nearly a year ago plans to file a lawsuit against the county and state, her attorney said Wednesday.

Cynthia Hall suffered a brain injury and has been recovering since the March 11, 2005, attack at the Fulton County Courthouse.

Her attorney, Brandon Hornsby, said details of the lawsuit would be released at a news conference Thursday, at which a videotape of comments by Hall about her ordeal will be released. She will not attend, nor will she answer questions, Hornsby said.

"As a result of Cynthia's traumatic brain injury, Cynthia has suffered many cognitive deficits, including problems with her judgment, problem solving and decision making," Hornsby said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

He added, "She is still participating in active therapy programs and we are concerned that her participation in media interviews at this stage of her recovery would not be in the best interest of her rehabilitation."

Other lawsuits have also been filed against county officials over the shootings.

Brian Nichols is accused of stealing Hall's gun and then killing a judge and court reporter in a courtroom and killing a sheriff's deputy who chased after him outside the courthouse. He is also accused of killing a federal agent at a home a few miles (kilometers) away that night. He allegedly took a woman hostage in a suburban Atlanta home before surrendering the next day.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. A trial on the murder charges is scheduled for October in the same courthouse complex where the shootings began.

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