Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder fielded questions under oath for more than 10 hours Thursday as part of the House Oversight Committee’s ongoing probe into a toxic workplace culture within his team.
The deposition, which began shortly after 8 a.m. ET and concluded a little after 6:30 p.m., followed five weeks of negotiations about whether, when and under what conditions Snyder would speak with committee staff.
He ultimately agreed to provide testimony under oath but not under the power of a subpoena, a crucial distinction that required him to answer the committee’s questions truthfully but also allowed him to choose which questions he answered.
“Mr. Snyder fully addressed all questions about workplace misconduct, described the Commanders’ dramatic two-year transformation and expressed hope for the organization’s bright future,” a spokesperson for the Commanders owner said in a statement Thursday night.
A committee spokesperson confirmed the duration of the deposition but did not otherwise comment on Snyder’s testimony.
The committee had previously warned that any attempts by Snyder to “(hide) behind non-disclosure or other confidentiality agreements” could prompt it to request additional testimony, this time under subpoena.
“Should Mr. Snyder fail to honor his commitments, the Committee is prepared to compel his testimony on any unanswered questions upon his return to the United States,” the committee said in a statement, released through a spokesperson.
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Snyder spoke with committee staff remotely from Israel, where his lawyers have said he is observing the first anniversary of his mother’s death.
In fact, Snyder has been out of the country since he declined to appear at a public hearing on Capitol Hill alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last month.
The committee’s chair, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), said at that hearing that she intended to issue a subpoena to compel his testimony. But committee staff have been unable to serve Snyder with that subpoena while he is out of the country.
The owner’s lawyers have declined to accept a subpoena on his behalf, arguing that it is unnecessary because Snyder has agreed to appear voluntarily. They also requested information about the nature and scope of questions he would face and cited due process concerns.
“The Committee’s proffered justification – that Mr. Snyder would otherwise invoke non-disclosure agreements ‘to withhold information from the Committee’ – is baseless,” attorney Karen Patton Seymour wrote in a letter to the committee earlier this month.
The back-and-forth lasted more than a month and frustrated some members of the committee, including Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.).
“Some negotiation between the committee and witnesses is not unheard of,” Connolly told The Washington Post. “But in this particular case, I think he is just showing the kind of arrogance he has richly earned a reputation for.
“And let’s put it in context: It is the context of denying and trying to avoid responsibility for the toxic, sexist work environment that he created. This is all about limiting damage and avoiding accountability that is the context of this negotiation.”
Thursday’s deposition was not open to the public, but the committee can now decide if or when to release a transcript of his remarks.