The Washington football team conducted “shadow investigations” into harassment accusers, the House panel said

Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder commissioned a “shadow investigation” of employees who spoke out against the team’s “toxic workplace” in an attempt to influence the NFL’s review of sexual harassment allegations, according to a published Congressional report. Wednesday.

Snyder used the investigation “to target his accusers, pin the blame on others, and influence the NFL’s internal review,” said House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, DNY, in a hearing on the allegations. sexual harassment and workplace misconduct towards the team. “The NFL was aware of his actions, but they couldn’t stop him,” Maloney said.

Snyder was invited to testify before the jury, but he refused, Maloney said. “Apparently, Mr. Snyder is in France, where he docked his luxury yacht near a resort town. That should tell you how much respect he has for women in the workplace,” Maloney said. She said she plans to sue him for testifying in a deposition.

A spokesperson for Snyder said the committee’s decision to publish a report before the hearing “is positive evidence that it would always be little more than a politically accused sham trial, not to uncover the truth. It is hoped that the committee will use the its resources go forward for more pressing national issues, instead of an issue faced years ago by a football team ”.

Dan Snyder, owner and co-CEO of the Washington Commanders, poses for photos at an event to unveil the new identity of the NFL football team on February 2, 2022, in Landover, Md.Patrick Semansky / AP file

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared virtually before the committee, defending the league’s handling of the investigation, which ended last year and resulted in over $ 10 million in fines against the club and the implementation of numerous reforms.

“It is clear to me that the workplace in Washington was unprofessional and unacceptable in many ways: bullying, widespread disrespect for colleagues, use of humiliating language, public embarrassment and harassment,” said Goodell.

He denied carrying out Snyder’s orders by refusing to release the full investigation results and claimed it was solely to protect the anonymity of witnesses in the investigation.

“We have not allowed commanders, or its owners or consultants, to direct or make decisions” in any investigation of the team, Goodell said.

The team initiated an internal review after the Washington Post reported in July 2020 that over a dozen female employees said they were sexually harassed by team officials and that their misconduct allegations had been swept under the rug.

The NFL later took over the investigation from the team while using the same investigator, a former federal prosecutor, Beth Wilkinson. Wilkinson’s 10-month investigation found that the team had been handled in a “highly unprofessional” manner and recommended a series of reforms.

Goodell released a brief summary of the report last year, but rejected requests from lawmakers to make the entire report public, citing privacy concerns.

In its report Wednesday, the jury said that “while Ms. Wilkinson was conducting an internal investigation of commanders on behalf of the NFL, Mr. Snyder was conducting her own shadow investigation.”

“Mr. Snyder has deployed an arsenal of tools to gather information about his accusers which have apparently been used to build a dossier to discredit them. In addition to deploying private investigators, Mr. Snyder has abused the subpoena power of federal courts to obtain e- private e-mails, calling logs and communications in an attempt to uncover the sources of the Washington Post’s complaints, undermine their credibility and challenge their motivations, “the report reads.

“Mr. Snyder also tried to dissuade his accusers from cooperating with the Wilkinson investigation by sending private investigators to their homes or offering them money,” the report said.

The commanders used the information gathered to put together the files he submitted to the NFL aimed at undermining the accusers and making then team president Bruce Allen the fallen boy to the team’s “toxic” environment, according to the report.

“The NFL’s decision to allow Mr. Snyder’s attorneys to make introductions to the League to blame Mr. Allen for the team’s toxic culture raises further questions about the integrity of the NFL’s handling of Wilkinson Investigation. The NFL declined to say. to the Committee as many presentations Mr. Snyder’s attorneys have made to the NFL and Mrs. Wilkinson’s office, “the report reads.

Goodell said the investigation was independent and on Wednesday told lawmakers, “The job at the commanders today bears no resemblance to the job that was described to this committee.”

He also added that for the past year Snyder “has not attended any League or committee meetings and, as far as I know, has not been involved in the day-to-day operations of the commanders.”

The NFL announced in February that it had hired former prosecutor Mary Jo White to conduct a new investigation into Snyder after former cheerleader Tiffani Johnston testified to the committee that Snyder had sexually assaulted her.

Snyder called those allegations “outright lies”.

“As those new allegations were brought to the committee in a public setting, we will share the results of that investigation when it is completed and take further disciplinary action if warranted,” Goodell told the jury.

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