NFL tells Congress Washington commanders are blocking access to team investigation documents
The letter from the league’s legal counsel, obtained by CNN and dated Wednesday, was addressed to Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, and said the league had attempted “to ‘obtain and review’ approximately 109,000 team documents collected. by the law firm Wilkinson Stekloff who were in possession of an e-discovery provider used by the firm during its investigation.
The league’s lawyers added that the seller refused to hand over the documents unless the team consented because of “his fear that he would be sued by the team or the owner”.
According to the letter from the league, the team did not consent.
“The NFL promptly ordered the team to consent to the vendor, but the team repeatedly refused to do so,” the league said in the letter. “As the committee is also aware, the team has insisted that it will only allow the supplier to release these documents to the team, so that the team’s attorney can review the documents first. for the privilege (even though these are all documents the team itself had previously shared with Wilkinson Stekloff) before unilaterally deciding what documents he will provide to the NFL for production to the Committee.”
The letter continued: “The NFL considered this an unacceptable approach as it would prevent the NFL from ensuring that it can produce all reactive and non-privileged materials to the Committee and would delay our production decisions. On Monday, the team approached the NFL about a proposed alternative resolution involving assurances to them that their disclosure of the documents would not result in any waiver of privilege on their part.”
Snyder denied those allegations Thursday through his attorney, Jordan Siev.
“Commanders have never prevented the NFL from obtaining non-privileged documents and will not do so in the future,” he said.
When asked for comment, the team shared the same statement.
On Wednesday, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league, not the team, would lead the investigation. This followed commanders’ announcement earlier on Wednesday that they had hired an independent firm to investigate.
Goodell was asked Wednesday about Washington’s previous announcement that the team had hired Debra Wong Yang, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP in Los Angeles and a former judge, to handle an independent investigation into the Tiffani Johnston allegations. against Snyder.
Johnston, a former cheerleader and the team’s marketing and events coordinator, told a House Oversight Committee roundtable last week that Snyder allegedly put his hand on her thigh during a dinner party and allegedly pushed her aggressively towards his limo with his hand on her lower back as she rebuffed advances.
Goodell said the league takes Johnston’s claims “very seriously.”
Johnston’s attorneys, Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, released a statement Wednesday: “Apparently the NFL also recognized how absurd it was to think that Dan Snyder could investigate on his own.
“We are awaiting communication from the NFL as to whether it intends to undertake this investigation independently and without any mutual interest agreement with Snyder. If the investigation is truly independent and the NFL is committed to make the findings public, my clients will be happy to participate.”
In 2020, the NFL conducted a year-long investigation into the working environment of the Washington franchise and, last July, fined Snyder $10 million. The inquest concluded that Snyder was responsible for the club’s unprofessional and intimidating culture and failed to establish a respectful work environment.