Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has been engaged for more than a month in the intricate task of saying enough to protect and advance his business interests, but not saying things that would undermine and jeopardize his legal interests.
That balancing act entered a new frontier on Tuesday, when Haslam addressed his fellow owners at the quarterly meetings in Boston.
As Gantt pointed out, Haslam also offered to provide private explanations to any owner who wants more than the five-minute presentation Haslam made to the full league ownership.
Before any owner takes him up on that offer, the owner needs to consider the possibility of becoming a potential witness, at some point down the road. Since no one outside of federal law enforcement currently knows the contents of files and computers seized last month at Pilot Flying J headquarters or communications secretly recorded by a company employee that weren’t included in the 120-page affidavit in support of the issuance of the search warrant, it’s unknown whether the Justice Department has or will have enough evidence to target Haslam personally. If Haslam is indicted, anything Haslam has said to anyone — including privately to other owners — can be used against him.
This means that other owners could find themselves being interviewed by federal prosecutors and, possibly, being subpoenaed to testify.
The chances of that happening are slim, but the lawyers currently on retainer for Haslam and the other 31 owners are compensated handsomely to keep an eye on every possible worst-case scenario.
Thus, if Haslam wants to keep his fellow owners out of this mess, he’ll not make good on the offer to provide private explanations. And if his fellow owners want to stay out of this mess, they won’t accept.