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Daniel Snyder’s lawyer insists there’s ‘no valid basis’ for a subpoena

Commanders owner Daniel Snyder has not appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The standoff over the terms of Daniel Snyder’s long-sought testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform intensified Wednesday when an attorney for the Washington Commanders owner told the panel’s chairwoman there is “no valid basis” to issue a subpoena.

Karen Patton Seymour, an attorney for Snyder, reiterated to the committee that Snyder is willing to make a “voluntary appearance” via Zoom on July 28. But Seymour continued to stand firm against the committee’s insistence that Snyder accept service of a subpoena as part of its investigation into allegations of workplace harassment and financial improprieties at the Washington NFL team.

There is a significant difference between congressional testimony offered voluntarily and testimony offered under subpoena.

If Snyder’s testimony is voluntary, he would be able to choose which questions he would and would not face. Under a subpoena, he would be placed under oath and not have that latitude.

Neither side appears willing to budge on that point.

“There is no legitimate need for a subpoena to Mr. Snyder,” Seymour wrote to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), the committee’s chairwoman. “The Committee’s proffered justification — that Mr. Snyder would otherwise invoke nondisclosure agreements ‘to withhold information from the Committee’ — is baseless.”

Seymour wrote that Snyder “is not subject to any NDA that conditions his ability to share information solely on receipt of a subpoena” and added, “We are confident that Mr. Snyder will [be] 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.”

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The letter from Seymour met the deadline of noon Wednesday set by Maloney for Snyder to respond to the committee.

“The Oversight Committee refuses to take ‘yes’ for an answer,” a spokesman for Snyder said.

Maloney wrote Tuesday to Seymour that the committee would accept Snyder’s offer to appear virtually July 28 if Snyder were to agree to provide “full and complete” testimony under a subpoena.

According to Maloney, Seymour had made clear to the committee’s staff that Snyder’s voluntary testimony “would exclude matters covered by nondisclosure agreements.” Many former Commanders employees who came forward with stories of being sexually harassed on the job were required to sign NDAs to collect severance pay.

The July 28 date was one of two proposed by Seymour for a voluntary remote appearance by Snyder.

“Under the circumstances, there is no valid basis to issue a subpoena for Mr. Snyder’s testimony,” Seymour wrote Wednesday. “We intend that he will testify voluntarily on July 28, as he has long agreed and looks forward to the opportunity to do.”

In snubbing House panel, Daniel Snyder may have increased his legal peril

Seymour repeatedly has cited issues of fairness and due process, along with scheduling conflicts, for Snyder’s failure to appear before the committee. Snyder did not appear voluntarily as requested at the committee’s June 22 public hearing on Capitol Hill. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified remotely at that hearing.

Maloney said that day she would issue a subpoena to compel Snyder’s testimony, originally targeting the following week for a deposition. Subpoenas can be served electronically if the recipient or recipient’s lawyer agrees to accept it. Snyder and his lawyer have refused to be served with the subpoena.

Snyder remains out of the country, according to Seymour. His July 28 appearance would come from Israel, where Snyder and his family “are attending services and events memorializing the first anniversary of his mother’s death,” Seymour wrote Wednesday.