Details emerge of 2009 sexual assault allegation against Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder

New details involving a 2009 sexual assault allegation against Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder have come to light on the eve of the House Oversight Committee's hearing into the NFL's investigation of Washington's alleged toxic workplace culture.

According to a letter sent to the Washington Post by "an attorney for the team to the woman’s lawyer in 2009," a female employee accused Snyder of asking her for sex, groping her and attempting to remove her clothes on a private area of one of the team’s private planes while returning from a work trip to Las Vegas in April 2009.

Snyder denied the allegations, the letter states, adding that a team investigation accused the woman of fabricating allegations in an attempt to extort him. But Snyder agreed to pay a $1.6 million settlement to the woman three months later in exchange that she not publicly disclose the allegations or sue him, the Post reported.

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Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder.
Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder.

The Washington Post first reported in 2020 that the Commanders paid a seven-figure settlement to a former employee who levied a sexual misconduct allegation against Snyder in 2009. Details of the accusations, however, were not previously disclosed until the Post published the letter written by attorney Howard Shapiro on Tuesday.

Shapiro, an attorney at WilmerHale law firm, aided in investigating the woman’s claims. Shapiro wrote that the woman’s allegations were “knowingly false.”

The letter emerged on the eve of the House Oversight Committee's congressional hearing into the toxic culture within the Commanders, a hearing Snyder has declined to testify in. Among the reasons given was a scheduling conflict preventing Snyder from appearing in person. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is scheduled to testify remotely.

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The committee has been looking into allegations of workplace misconduct within the Commanders organization, and the NFL's response. The league commissioned an investigation into the issue, which concluded last summer. It sanctioned the team and Snyder, but did not release a public report on its findings.

The House Committee framed the hearing as a natural next step after more than seven months of probing the issues in Washington and the NFL's investigation into the matter.

It first requested documents from the league in October, then reiterated its request in November, saying it had received some but not all of the requested materials. In February, it held a roundtable with former Washington employees who participated in the NFL's investigation and have said they want the findings to be made public.

Most recently, the House Committee has said its probe has uncovered possible financial irregularities within Washington's books and referred the information to the FTC. The team has categorically denied "any suggestion of financial impropriety of any kind at any time."

The NFL has since tapped Mary Jo White, the former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to investigate the claims of financial misconduct, as well as allegations of sexual harassment levied against Snyder, which he has denied.

Contributing: Tom Schad

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Details emerge of 2009 sexual assault allegation against Daniel Snyder