Entertainment & Sports Law

Paul Weiss leads 'Deflategate' probe for NFL

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With the Super Bowl only days away, the National Football League has tapped Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison to lead the “Deflategate” probe of the New England Patriots.

Partner Theodore “Ted” Wells Jr., who co-chairs the law firm’s litigation department, will be in charge of the investigation, along with NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash, according to the Am Law Daily (sub. req.) and CNN.

In a written statement, Wells said the investigation would take at least several weeks to complete and urged anyone who might be involved to avoid commenting during that period, the Boston Herald reports. Wells said the results would be made public once the probe is finished.

“This work began last week, stretched through the weekend, and is proceeding expeditiously this week notwithstanding the Super Bowl,” he said in the statement. “We are following customary investigative procedures and no one should draw any conclusions about the sequence of interviews or any other steps, all of which are part of the process of doing a thorough and fair investigation.”

The NFL has confirmed that footballs used during the first half of the AFC Championship game won by the Patriots weren’t properly inflated, but says it isn’t clear why, CNN reports.

The Paul Weiss investigation is expected to determine “specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action,” the NFL said in a written statement provided to the network. “We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.”

The Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Robert Kraft, who serves as chairman and chief executive of the Patriots, said the team will cooperate fully. “I very much support the league’s desire to conduct a complete investigation,” Kraft said in a written statement, “and welcome the appointment of Ted Wells to lead the process.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “NFL launches ‘Deflategate’ probe of Patriots win; could Super Bowl be disrupted?”

Syracuse.com: “New England Patriots owner defends organization, wants apology from NFL if cleared in ‘Deflategate’”

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