Snyder denounced the story and the newspaper, and filed suit in early February after the newspaper declined to apologize or retract the piece.
But people close to Snyder said the team’s owner felt vindicated when City Paper’s publisher, Amy Austin, acknowledged in a story published in April that one aspect of the story was not meant to be construed as literally true.
“We prefer to focus on the coming football season and the business at hand,” Tony Wyllie, Snyder’s spokesman, said in a statement disclosing the withdrawal.
The Redskins open their season Sunday at FedEx Field against the New York Giants.
Snyder agreed to dismiss his suit, and both sides agreed to bear their own legal costs as well as to a mutual release of future claims in negotiations that were completed Saturday evening. City Paper said in a statement Saturday that the cost of defending itself went “well beyond” the $34,000 its readers had contributed to a legal defense fund. It did not say how much was spent.
City Paper has maintained that Snyder’s lawsuit was meritless and an attempt to stifle criticism of the Redskins’ owner. It stood by the story and McKenna from the beginning.
“This is a great day for free speech,” said Michael Schaffer, City Paper’s editor. “This is a great day for the citizens of D.C., which has a legal system that protects them from being bullied by people who don’t like what was said.”
In his original lawsuit, Snyder said he was defamed by several parts of the article, including the suggestion that he had been kicked out as chairman of the board of the Six Flags amusement park chain and had gone “all Agent Orange” by cutting down a stand of trees on federally protected land that blocked river views from his Potomac mansion in 2004. He also objected to the story’s assertion that he had been “caught forging names” on consumers’ long-distance phone contracts while he headed a marketing firm, Snyder Communications, before taking over the Redskins in 1999. He denied all of those allegations.
Snyder also said that the story insulted his wife, Tanya, a breast cancer survivor who has been active in efforts to promote awareness of the disease, and that a photo illustration of him with horns and a goatee was anti-Semitic.
But Snyder backed off most of his claims about the story as settlement talks with City Paper and its attorneys began this summer after the paper filed a motion to dismiss the suit.