Dan Snyder's attorney says Commanders owner won't testify before Congress if under subpoena

·Writer
·3-min read

The haggling over Dan Snyder's potential testimony before Congress continues, this time with the Washington Commander's owner's camp saying he will only testify if not forced to testify.

One of Snyder's attorneys, Karen Patton Seymour, wrote in a letter to House Oversight Committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) that the billionaire will testify on July 28 only if it's voluntary, calling the committee's efforts to subpoena him "baseless." The letter was obtained and published by Front Office Sports.

From the letter:

There is no legitimate need for a subpoena to Mr. Snyder. The Committee’s proffered justification – that Mr. Snyder would otherwise invoke non-disclosure agreements “to withhold information from the Committee” – is baseless. Mr. Snyder is not subject to any NDA that conditions his ability to share information solely on receipt of a subpoena. We are confident that Mr. Snyder will able to provide full and complete testimony during his voluntary appearance – a view the Committee apparently shared, despite the proffered justification in the July 12 letter, since the Committee invited him to testify voluntarily at a hearing held just three weeks ago.

Why doesn't Dan Snyder want a Congressional subpoena?

Maloney outlined her committee's demand that Snyder testify under subpoena in a letter released Tuesday, citing Snyder's past use of non-disclosure agreements to hide alleged workplace misconduct. Snyder previously offered to testify in late July.

There is a significant difference between testifying before Congress under subpoena and voluntarily. Under subpoena, Snyder would be under oath and would not be allowed to decline to answer questions. In particular, he would not be allowed to cite NDAs in declining to answer a question.

While a subpoena is officially an order to testify before an authority, Snyder has so far been successful in avoiding Congress' efforts to serve him with one. He has spent the last few weeks overseas on his yacht, where U.S. Marshals cannot officially present him with subpoena papers. Per ESPN, Seymour could accept the subpoena on his behalf, but has not done so.

Nov 3, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder looks on prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Snyder wants to testify before Congress, but only under his terms. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

Snyder previously avoided a subpoena after declining to appear alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in June. Maloney claimed in her letter that Snyder had not been cooperating with the committee for months, which Seymour claimed to be untrue:

To the contrary, since the Committee first requested that he appear voluntarily to testify at the June 22 hearing, Mr. Snyder has been fully committed to cooperating in the Committee’s investigation. While Mr. Snyder was already committed to a work engagement overseas on the single date the Committee offered for his appearance, we repeatedly reiterated Mr. Snyder’s willingness to cooperate and offered to find alternate dates for him to appear.

Seymour said Snyder plans to be in Israel at the time of his planned testimony to observe the one-year anniversary of his mother's death. She also pushed back on Maloney's worries about Snyder using NDAs to prevent testimony to the committee, claiming he "has not done anything of the sort" in the past.