Dan Snyder petitioned a federal court in California on Thursday to issue a subpoena to former team president Bruce Allen as part of the Washington Football Team owner’s ongoing defamation lawsuit against an Indian-based media company.
Snyder seeks phone records, text messages and the ability to depose his former longtime confidant, alleging Allen sought information or was a source in the negative reports that came out about the owner and team last year. Allen, of course, worked with Washington from 2009 until 2019, when he was fired after 10 seasons in which the team posted a 62-100-1 record.
In a filing, Snyder’s lawyers allege Allen began coordinating a misinformation campaign just weeks after his firing. The lawyers write that Allen spoke at length with John Moag, a Baltimore investment banker who represented Snyder’s three disgruntled minority shareholders while trying to conduct a sale of their shares.
Snyder’s lawyers wrote that from Jan. 9, 2020, to Nov. 18 of that same year, Allen and Moag “participated in at least 87 separate phone calls, lasting nearly 21 hours (1,237 minutes).”
“In particular, in the 6 weeks leading up to the publication of the Defamatory Articles, Respondent and Mr. Moag spoke 21 times for 270 minutes, or 4.5 hours,” the petition reads. “Given that Respondent no longer held a position with the Team as of 2019, Respondent had no valid business reason for speaking with Mr. Moag during that time.”
The filing also accuses Allen of possibly being a source in a series of articles in The Washington Post that detailed more than 40 accusations from women who said they were sexually harassed while working for the team. The stories prompted the NFL to launch an ongoing investigation into the team’s workplace.
The lawyers wrote that despite Allen’s role in running Washington’s day-to-day operations in that span, the articles “rarely, if ever” mention Allen. They also note that Allen wasn’t mentioned in any of the articles from Media Entertainment Arts WorldWide (MEAWW), the company that Snyder is suing for defamation.
“This glaring omission raises further questions about Respondent’s possible role in and/or knowledge of the creation, solicitation, drafting and publication of the Defamatory Articles,” the filing reads.
Snyder alleges Allen also had “specific knowledge of the creation and distribution” of the articles on MEAWW’s website.
Last August, Snyder sued MEAWW in India after the company published a series of articles that Snyder alleges contained blatantly false and damaging information. Some of the articles speculated whether Snyder was connected to Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted pedophile billionaire who died by suicide in jail.
“There’s a line that one crosses that is really an inconceivable crossing of the line that is hard to really allow to go unpunished because there’s probably nothing you could say about someone in this day and age worse than you’re an associate of Jeffrey Epstein,” Joe Tacopina, one of Snyder’s attorneys, told The Washington Times in August. “You’re a pedophile. … It’s really the death knell to anyone’s reputation.
“And Dan Snyder didn’t deserve that, no matter how nasty his disputes can be with other people.”
According to court documents filed Thursday, Snyder wants to depose Allen over seven topics. They include his potential communication with MEAWW, Moag, any third party about Snyder or the team, former team employee Mary Ellen Blair and a man named Bobby Porter. He also wants to discuss Allen’s “awareness and or connection” to the series of negative articles about Snyder.
As part of his lawsuit, Snyder previously alleged that his three minority partners — FedEx CEO Fred Smith, developer Dwight Schar and investor Robert Rothman — actively helped coordinate a misinformation campaign against him. But Snyder agreed to drop those claims when he and the partners struck a deal to buy out their 40.5% share of the franchise, giving Snyder and his family full control of the team.
The deal, with the shares purchased for $875 million, was finalized on April 2, days after the NFL’s owners approved the buyout.
• Matthew Paras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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