Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch joins NFL investigation into Washington Football Team owners

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch joins NFL investigation into Washington Football Team owners
© Stefani Reynolds

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch has been tapped by the NFL to help in its investigations of alleged misconduct among the Washington Football Team owners, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. 

This comes as the NFL is attempting to arbitrate a feud between the team’s principal owner, Dan Snyder, and its minority owners, namely FedEx CEO Frederick Smith, Black Diamond Capital Chairman Robert Rothman and real estate developer Dwight Schar, the board chairman of NVR Inc. 

People familiar with the matter told the news outlet that Lynch will focus her investigations on an alleged attempt by Schar to publicly distribute information in an attempt to defame Snyder. 

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Lynch, who served as attorney general under the Obama administration from 2015 to 2017, currently works as a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

The Journal reported that Lynch could not be reached for comment. 

The Washington Football Team’s minority owners have attempted to sell their stakes, though that has resulted in a prolonged legal battle, including a federal court case with several misconduct allegations against both Snyder and the minority owners. 

According to the Journal, Snyder’s lawyers are arguing that the minority owners have attempted to force Snyder to sell the football team and subsequently led a smear campaign when Snyder, who purchased the team in 1999, refused to do so. 

A recently unsealed court filing revealed Snyder’s lawyers claim Schar worked with a former team employee by using burner phones to communicate and plant damaging stories aimed at ruining Snyder’s reputation. 

“Schar resorted to conduct more reflective of a gangster than an NFL owner,” the filing states, according to the Journal.  

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The Washington Football team is also being investigated in an NFL-monitored probe after The Washington Post in July reported accusations of verbal and sexual harassment from several former female employees of the team.  

In a November interview with the Journal, Snyder apologized for the team’s workplace culture and “that anyone was hurt” as a result, adding that changes can be implemented within the organization. 

Earlier this month, the Post reported that Snyder was attempting to keep the details of a sexual harassment settlement from the public after it was uncovered in the NFL-led investigation. 

David Donovan, the team's former general counsel, was reportedly also involved in the efforts to stop the NFL's lead investigator, Beth Wilkinson, from disclosing details about the lawsuit and sued her last month in an attempt to further those efforts.

In an emergency motion, Donovan indicated that Snyder would intervene in the interest of “asserting privilege and privacy or related interests over information that is under seal.” 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ivan Davis granted the emergency motion, according to the Post. Both Donovan and Wilkinson declined to comment to the newspaper at the time.