With Washington owner Daniel Snyder pursuing in India a defamation lawsuit that focuses on articles falsely connecting him to Jeffrey Epstein, Snyder is using the American court system to obtain testimony and documents that, ostensibly, would support the case — and that apparently would show a link back to Washington minority owner Dwight Schar. One of the persons from whom Snyder seeks evidence claims that Snyder is simply using legal proceedings as cover for making false and damaging statements about her.
Former Washington employee Mary Ellen Blair has filed a formal opposition to Snyder’s effort to pursue information from her via a federal court in Virginia, and her lawyers ultimately characterize the entire effort as a device for defaming her without subjecting Snyder to liability for defamation.
“Snyder’s Application should be denied because it was made in bad faith, for the purpose of harassing Blair and intimidating other former employees who have been speaking to reporters about the sexually hostile work environment that Snyder perpetuated during his 21-year ownership of the team,” Blair’s lawyers write. “[T]he sweeping and invasive discovery requests seem specifically crafted for the purpose of burdening Blair and for providing Snyder with a vehicle to disparage her publicly while hiding behind the doctrine of judicial immunity to avoid a defamation suit being brought against him.”
Statements made in court filings typically cannot provide the basis for a defamation case.
Blair’s lawyers also claims that Snyder “has sent private investigators to follow her, and to speak with her friends and co-workers.” Blair’s lawyers content that the “false and disparaging allegations” made by Snyder “has cause[d] Blair severe emotional distress and reputational damage, which was almost certainly Snyder’s intent.”
In a sworn declaration submitted to the federal court, Blair claims that she did not provide information to meaww.com, that she has never told anyone that Snyder has a connection to Jeffrey Epstein, and that she has never offered or alluded to bribes in exchange for negative information about Snyder.
Snyder, in court filings submitted on his behalf, has explained that he wants to explore whether and to what extent Blair was gathering information that would be damaging to Snyder, whether and to what extent bribes were offered to employees who speak out about Snyder, and whether Blair was receiving discounted rent and/or other benefits from Comstock Holding Company, which is owned by Schar.
Blair is represented by Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, who represent more than a dozen former Washington employees who claim that they were the victims of sexual harassment.