Daniel Snyder will face House committee questions under oath Thursday

Daniel Snyder will face House committee questions under oath Thursday

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

The committee announced the agreement early Thursday morning after negotiations with lawyers on both sides continued late Wednesday night. Snyder is scheduled to give a voluntary statement under oath on matters related to the team’s workplace at 8 a.m. Thursday without agreeing to be served with a subpoena.

“The committee’s determination of Mr. Snyder will move forward today,” a committee spokesperson said in a written statement. “MR. Snyder has committed to giving full and complete testimony, and to answering the Committee’s questions about his knowledge of and contribution to the Chiefs’ toxic work environment, as well as his efforts to interfere in the NFL’s internal investigation, without hiding behind nondisclosure or other confidentiality agreements. Should Snyder fail to comply with his obligations, the Committee is prepared to compel his testimony on unanswered questions upon his return to the United States.”

Thursday’s deposition will not be public. The case will be transcribed. It is not clear whether the transcript will be made public at any point; it is at the committee’s discretion. The deposition will be conducted by committee staff, most of them lawyers, and is expected to last longer than the 2½-hour public hearing last month in which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was questioned by lawmakers rather than lawyers.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.), the committee’s chairwoman, fulfilled a procedural requirement by filing a deposition notice Monday with the office of the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. But it was not certain that the disposal would actually take place until the parties had resolved their disagreements about the terms.

The agreement does not preclude the committee from making further attempts to serve Snyder with a subpoena if the panel is dissatisfied 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 first attempt to serve a subpoena electronically was rebuffed by Snyder’s attorney.

Daniel Snyder was not “hands off” as an NFL owner, witnesses told the committee

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.), a member of the committee, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that while committee members are invited to attend depositions, the hearings are usually conducted by professional staff who are steeped in the relevant issues.

“They’re lawyers and they’re going about it in a legal way,” Connolly said. “Honestly, it’s a very useful platform to then have a public hearing from.”

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 potential interview. Snyder’s attorney, Karen Patton Seymour, repeatedly cited issues of fairness and due process and said Snyder would appear voluntarily. The committee sought to have Snyder appear under subpoena.

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

In his comments days before the 11th-hour deal, Connolly was sharply critical of Snyder’s approach to handling the committee.

“It has been marked by the typical arrogance of Dan Snyder and his operation: ‘I get to make the rules. I get to decide when or if I comply. I get to set the boundaries of the questions asked and the terms and conditions under 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 former teams. employees.

“Some negotiations between the committee and witnesses are not unheard of. 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: That’s the context for denying and trying to avoid responsibility for the toxic, sexist work environment he created. This is about limiting damage and avoiding liability, which is the context for this negotiation.”

Goodell testified externally at the June 22 hearing. Seymour cited a scheduling conflict and the fairness and justice issues for Snyder not appearing then. Maloney announced at the hearing that she would issue a subpoena for a deposition to legally compel Snyder’s testimony. But Seymour refused to accept service of that subpoena on Snyder’s behalf, Maloney noted in a July 12 letter. Snyder’s extended travel abroad complicates the process of serving a subpoena in person.

By dismissing the House panel, Daniel Snyder may have increased his legal jeopardy

The committee has been investigating allegations of widespread sexual harassment in the Commanders organization, including allegations against Snyder. Tiffani Johnston, a former cheerleader and marketing manager for the team, said at a congressional roundtable in February that Snyder harassed her at a team dinner, put his hand on her thigh and pushed her against his limo. Snyder denied the allegations, calling them “pure lies.”

The Washington Post last month reported details of a then-employee’s claim that Snyder sexually assaulted her during a flight on his private jet in April 2009. Three months later, the team agreed to pay the female employee, whom they fired, $1.6 million in a confidential settlement. In a 2020 lawsuit, Snyder called the woman’s claims “meritless.” Goodell told the committee at 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 attempt to discredit his accusers and shift blame.

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

Republicans on the committee have criticized the Democratic-led investigation into Snyder, the team and the NFL, saying the panel should focus on matters of greater national importance. They have said they would drop the case if they take over leadership of the committee in January based on the results of the midterm elections in November.

The NFL has ordered an ongoing investigation into the latest allegations against Snyder. It’s the probe is overseen by Mary Jo White, a former US attorney for the Southern District of New York and former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. After 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, the team’s co-CEO, would assume responsibility for the franchise’s day-to-day operations for an unspecified period. The league has said White’s report, unlike Wilkinson’s, will be released to the public.

Several NFL owners said in May they would support a significant suspension of Daniel Snyder if allegations of sexual misconduct and financial impropriety against him and the team are substantiated. They said no meaningful steps had been taken at the time to make a push to remove Snyder from ownership of his franchise. Connolly said Tuesday he hopes that changes.

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

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