08/28/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT
Former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch is just an ordinary young woman once more – but will likely soon have an extraordinary book or movie contract, notes the Associated Press.
Lynch, 20, has received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army – a move that will allow her to pursue book or film deals about her ordeal in Iraq, said her lawyer, Stephen Goodwin of Charleston, W. Va. "She is not a member of the military anymore," Goodwin said, according to the AP. "Like any citizen, she is now free to enter into a contract."
Lynch has said previously through a spokesman that she plans to tell of her experience through a book to be released toward the end of the year. Former New York Times reporter Rick Bragg has been a guest at the Lynch home, and the Times has reported that its former staffer will receive $1 million to tell Lynch's story.
Lynch suffered broken bones and other injuries on March 23, when her unit was ambushed in Iraq, but it was the story of her dramatic rescue by special forces a week later that made her an American hero and shot her into America's hearts. That story has since been challenged in the press.
NBC is already planning a TV movie on her experience, but it has been developed without the former soldier's authorization, the AP notes; CBS abandoned its plans for a Lynch movie. As of Wednesday, Goodwin said, Lynch had not yet signed a book deal with anyone.
Lynch, still recovering from her injuries and walking on crutches, returned home last month to a hero's welcome after a long stay at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.