Daniel Snyder faces House committee questions under oath on Thursday

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Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder participated remotely in a sworn deposition Thursday with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, after he and the committee agreed to the terms of the interview after weeks of deliberation.

The committee announced the deal early Thursday morning after negotiations involving lawyers from both sides continued late into Wednesday night. Snyder gave a voluntary sworn statement on issues related to the team’s workplace beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday without accepting service of a subpoena.

“The committee’s testimony of Mr. Snyder will continue today,” a spokesperson for the committee said in a written statement. “Mr. Snyder has pledged to provide full and complete testimony and to answer Committee questions about his knowledge of and contributions to the CO’s toxic work environment, as well as his efforts to interfere with the internal investigation. of the NFL, without hiding behind non-disclosure or other confidentiality agreements.If Mr. Snyder does not respect his commitments, the Committee is ready to compel him to testify on any questions that remain unanswered upon his return to the United States. United.

The spokesperson confirmed Thursday afternoon that deposition had begun and was continuing. A spokesperson for Snyder declined to comment.

Thursday’s deposition was not public. The proceedings were being transcribed. It is unclear if the transcript will be made public at any time; it’s at the discretion of the committee. The deposition was conducted by committee staffers, mostly attorneys, and was expected to last longer than last month’s two-and-a-half-hour public hearing in which NFL commissioner Roger Goodell testified. been questioned by lawmakers rather than lawyers.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), the committee chair, fulfilled a procedural requirement by filing a notice of deposition Monday with the office of the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. But it was uncertain whether the deposition would actually take place until the parties resolved their differences over terms.

The agreement does not prevent the committee from making further attempts to serve Snyder with a subpoena if the panel is unhappy with his level of cooperation during Thursday’s deposition. After Snyder declined an invitation to appear at a June 22 hearing on Capitol Hill, the committee’s initial effort to serve a subpoena electronically was rejected by Snyder’s attorney.

Daniel Snyder was not ‘banned’ as an NFL owner, witnesses told committee

Committee member Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) said in a phone interview On Tuesday, while committee members are invited to attend depositions, questioning is usually carried out by professional staff familiar with the relevant issues.

“They are lawyers and do it the legal way,” Connolly said. “Frankly, it’s a very useful platform to then have a public hearing.”

Snyder and the committee had been at odds in recent weeks over the terms of his appearance, even after the committee accepted Thursday as the day for a possible interview. Snyder’s attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, repeatedly cited fairness and due process issues and said Snyder would make a voluntary appearance. The committee asked Snyder to appear under subpoena.

Under voluntary testimony, Snyder could choose which questions he would answer. Under a subpoena, he would not have the ability to avoid answering a question without invoking a constitutionally protected privilege.

In his comments days before the 11th Hour deal, Connolly sharply criticized Snyder’s approach to dealing with the committee.

“He was characterized by the typical arrogance of Dan Snyder and his operation: ‘I can set the rules. I can decide when or if I comply. I can set the boundaries of the questions that are asked and the terms and conditions in which I will make myself available,” said Connolly, whose Northern Virginia district stretches from Herndon to Quantico and includes many Commanders fans, as well as the former staff team.

“Some negotiations between the committee and witnesses are not uncommon. But in this particular case, I think he’s just showing the kind of arrogance he’s richly earned a reputation for. And let’s put it in context: it’s the context of denying and trying to avoid responsibility for the toxic and sexist work environment he has created. It’s about limiting the damage and avoiding accountability, that’s the context of this negotiation.

Goodell testified remotely at the June 22 hearing. Seymour cited a scheduling conflict and issues of fairness and due process for Snyder’s failure to appear at that time. Maloney announced during the hearing that she would issue a subpoena to legally compel Snyder’s testimony. But Seymour refused to accept the significance of that subpoena on Snyder’s behalf, Maloney noted in a July 12 letter. Snyder’s extended trips abroad complicate the process of serving a subpoena in person.

By snubbing the House panel, Daniel Snyder may have increased his legal peril

The committee reviewed allegations of widespread sexual harassment within the commanders’ organization, including the charges against Snyder. Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team, told a congressional roundtable in February that Snyder harassed her at a team dinner, putting his hand on her thigh and hurrying her to her limo. Snyder denied the accusations, calling them “outright lies”.

The Washington Post last month reported details of a then-employee’s claim that Snyder sexually assaulted her during a flight in his private plane in April 2009. Three months later, the team agreed to pay the employee, whom it fired, $1.6 million in a confidential settlement. In a 2020 court filing, Snyder called the woman’s claims “baseless.” Goodell told the committee during the June 22 hearing that he did not recall Snyder informing the NFL at the time of the sexual assault allegation.

The committee found in its investigation that Snyder and members of his legal team conducted a “shadow investigation” and compiled a “dossier” targeting former team employees, their lawyers and reporters in an effort to discredit his accusers and to shift the blame.

In April, the committee detailed allegations of financial impropriety by Snyder and the team in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission. DC attorneys general, Democrat Karl A. Racine, and Virginia, Republican Jason S. Miyares, announced they would investigate. The team denied committing any financial irregularities.

Republicans on the committee criticized the Democrats’ investigation of Snyder, the team and the NFL, saying the panel should focus on issues of greater national importance. They said they would drop the case if they assumed leadership of the committee in January based on the results of November’s midterm elections.

The NFL has commissioned an ongoing investigation into the latest allegations against Snyder. This probe is under the supervision of Mary Jo White, former US attorney for the Southern District of New York and former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Following an earlier investigation by attorney Beth Wilkinson, the NFL announced last July that the team had been fined $10 million and that Snyder’s wife, Tanya, co-CEO of the team, would assume responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the franchise for an indefinite period. The league said White’s report, unlike Wilkinson’s, will be made public.

Several NFL owners said in May they would support a significant suspension of Daniel Snyder if the allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety against him and the team are true. They said no meaningful action had been taken at this point to push for Snyder’s removal from ownership of his franchise. Connolly said Tuesday he hopes that will change.

“There has to be accountability,” Connolly said. “There has to be a complete culture change. And frankly – I’ll be honest – I think that means a change in ownership.

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