U.S. Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite on Thursday dismissed a motion by Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder to find sports banker John Moag in violation of a subpoena concerning data on his devices and engaging in “spoliation,” a willful destruction of evidence. “The Court,” the judge wrote in an opinion obtained by Sportico, “does not buy into the alleged conspiracy offered by [Snyder]. Other than [Snyder]’s allegations, there is no support for any conspiracy.”
In April, Snyder’s attorneys alleged that Moag—whose company was hired to sell the interests of three former WFT minority owners (Robert Rothman, Dwight Schar and Frederick Smith)—may have been involved in or had information concerning the origin of an online story published in India that falsely connected Snyder to infamous sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein. Last year Snyder filed a defamation lawsuit against the media company, Media Entertainment Arts Worldwide, over that story.
Snyder’s filing had insisted that Moag “knowingly and intentionally” deleted data from his cell phone and other devices and that such data contained documents relevant to Snyder’s case in India. Snyder, however, “presented no real evidence that [Moag], in deleting messages or documents, did so with the express purpose of depriving [Snyder] of the evidence in this litigation.” Judge Copperthite, who presides in Maryland’s federal district court, added that Snyder also failed to offer evidence connecting Moag, who in a sworn statement says he wasn’t even aware of the basis of the India litigation until after the story was published, to any “relevant information to the foreign litigation.”
Snyder, the judge explained, “asks the Court to simply assume that because [Moag], a non-party to the India litigation, deleted emails, texts and possibly documents from his devices, that those deletions contained evidence relevant to the India litigation. The Court refuses to do so.”
Along those lines, while Snyder claimed that Moag “admitted in a sworn statement to this Court that he deleted communications with third parties that discussed Snyder,” Moag, in his sworn statement, made clear that none of his documents or communications related to the India litigation.
“To follow [Snyder’s] logic,” Judge Copperthite succinctly wrote, “if a witness who is not a party or witness in the subject litigation is served with a foreign subpoena and that witness routinely deleted electronic information, then the deleted information must have been relevant. That logic is simply not logical here.”
Back in March, Snyder bought out the trio of minority owners whom Moag had represented.
Scott Soshnick contributed to this story.