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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Dan Snyder’s lawyer denies that Snyder or the team has obstructed the Congressional investigation

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Friday’s letter from Congress to Commissioner Roger Goodell contains some interesting revelations regarding the true nature of Beth Wilkinson’s investigation. The letter also suggests that the league and/or the Washington Commanders are obstructing the Congressional probe into the situation.

On Friday afternoon, owner Dan Snyder’s lawyer issued a statement denying any efforts to obstruct Congress.

“[N]either Mr. Snyder nor the team has ever done anything to block the Committee from receiving any documents it has requested from the NFL that are not expressly protected by the attorney-client privilege or attorney work product,” attorney Jordan Siev said, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post.

There are those pesky terms again. Attorney-client privilege. Work product doctrine. License to keep any problematic emails or other documents or facts out of view, with no real vehicle for testing the allegation that the materials truly are protected. Unlike court proceedings, where a judge would eventually review the supposedly privileged documents and decide whether they are truly privileged, Congress simply has to take the NFL’s word for it, at least for now.

Siev also provided a supplemental response to Snyder’s denial of Thursday’s testimony from former Washington employee Tiffani Johnston, who accused Snyder of putting his hand on her thigh at a dinner, and of trying to cajole her into his limo after the event.

“The former team employee who spoke for the first time yesterday resigned through a thankful and cheery resignation note more than 13 years ago — citing her ‘5 and a half wonderful years working for the Washington [Commanders],’” Siev said. “We understand that she was approached by the Wilkinson law firm in 2020 as part of its investigation, but she refused to be interviewed. The unsworn allegations she made for the first time yesterday against Mr. Snyder are false, and have been categorically denied by Mr. Snyder.”

First, it’s asinine, offensive, and flat-out gross (in my opinion) to try to dispute the allegations of a person who spoke publicly (under oath or not) about her experiences with Mister Snyder by pointing to the fact that her resignation note didn’t say, for example, “Take this job and shove it — also I was sexually harassed by Mister Snyder.” Young female employees who are harassed at work by older male supervisors have to compartmentalize their experiences. They have to find a way to ignore what happened, and to keep going. Besides, Johnston may have otherwise enjoyed the times at work when she weren’t being, you know, sexually harassed. The fact that Mister Snyder’s hired gun would resort to regarding a perfunctory resignation note as a silver bullet suggests that Mister Snyder is VERY nervous about where this may go.

Second, as to the fact that Johnston “was approached by the Wilkinson law firm . . . but she refused to be investigated,” that’s no legitimate basis for doubting her version of the events. It’s now clear that Wilkinson was hired not to uncover hard truth but to minimize financial liabilities. Anything Johnston said to Wilkinson can and would have been used against her, if Johnston eventually had sued.

The fact that Siev felt compelled to add something more to Mister Snyder’s comment from Thursday regarding Johnston claims shows that Mister Snyder is concerned. Mister Snyder is worried. Mister Snyder is on the ropes.

If only the NFL would finally punch Mister Snyder through.

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