FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's best chance at victory with Judge Richard Berman in U.S. District Court likely is detailed on pages 268, 269 and 270 of his appeal hearing.
That is where attorney Ted Wells reveals that NFL general counsel Jeff Pash provided either written or oral comments to a member of the Wells investigative team on the initial draft of its report.
In testimony, Wells insisted that Pash’s comments did not affect his conclusion, but to me that’s a moot point. That Pash had any say in the production of the Wells report is unfair and highlights a biased process.
And ultimately, as legal experts have explained, this is what Judge Berman will be ruling on: due process.
Pash’s direct involvement in the Wells report, which was used as the foundation to hand down penalties on the Patriots and Brady, crosses the line of fairness, especially in light of the emails the Patriots shared last week that chronicle Pash’s reluctance to correct the public record. Pash, in those emails, said he would pass along the team's concerns to Wells.
If Pash did so yet still ultimately had a say in how the Wells report was produced (“wordsmithing” was the word Wells used), that obviously greatly compromises the investigation and due process. Highlighting this, there was just one paragraph in the 243-page Wells report that touched on how the NFL handled the entire process -- page 21, last paragraph -- and it spared the league all accountability without elaboration on how that conclusion was reached.
It's with that question in mind that I view this portion of Brady’s appeal -- regarding Pash’s involvement as a wordsmith of the Wells report -- as the quarterback's trump card.
We’ll see whether Judge Berman agrees.