Details of a 2009 sexual assault allegation against Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder were revealed on Tuesday after the Washington Post obtained legal correspondence relating to the incident, which was resolved in a $1.6 million confidential settlement.
Snyder was accused by a former female employee of asking her for sex, groping her and attempting to remove her clothes on a private jet while returning from a work trip from Las Vegas, according to a letter sent by an attorney for the team to the woman’s lawyer.
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Snyder denied the allegations while a team investigation accused the woman of fabricating the claims in an extortion attempt.
The letter also cites then-general counsel David Donovan, who led the investigation and reported to Snyder, concluding she fabricated the claims because the plane was small with a quiet engine and interviews with other witnesses did not notice signs of assault or distress.
Donovan also accused the woman of lying about her “impeccable reputation,” citing allegations that she wore revealing clothing and flirted with other men on the trip.
The details of the allegation had not been previously brought to light because the seven-figure settlement figure the woman received came under the condition to agree not to sue the team or publicly disclose the allegations.
The letter the post obtained was written by Howard Shapiro, an attorney for a law firm assisting Washington in its investigation into the woman’s claims. He declined to comment, as well as Snyder, his attorneys, Donovan, the accuser and her attorney.
These details come on the eve of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appearing in front of a U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Reform hearing regarding separate allegations of a hostile workplace culture.
Per the Washington Post report, the correspondence it obtained does not mention if the NFL was involved or aware of the team’s investigation into the woman’s claims against Snyder.
In 2009, the NFL’s personal conduct policy required investigations of sexual assault allegations to be overseen by the league office.
Beth Wilkinson, who led the 2020 workplace culture investigation, did interview the woman from the 2009 settlement despite efforts from Snyder’s lawyers to silence her, per the Post, including offering her more money not to speak.
An attorney for Snyder denied these allegations.