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  • Rams fans, player drop suit vs. Pats

    NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Lawyers for a former St. Louis Rams player and three fans plan to withdraw a lawsuit that accuses the New England Patriots of cheating in the 2002 Super Bowl.

    In court papers filed Monday, the plaintiffs' attorneys say they sued last month in an attempt to secure sworn testimony from former Patriots employee Matt Walsh, who allegedly taped a walkthrough practice by the Rams before New England's Super Bowl win.

    But the lawyers for former Rams player Willie Gary call it an "exercise in futility" because they suspect Walsh would exercise his constitutional right against self-incrimination if he is ordered to submit to a deposition.

    On Monday, they asked a federal judge in New Orleans to dismiss the case. The case was filed in New Orleans because the Louisiana Superdome hosted the 2002 Super Bowl, which the Patriots won 20-17.

    Eric Deters, one of Gary's attorneys, said they are reserving their right to refile the suit if they learn more about Walsh's alleged role in the Spygate episode.

    "We're not giving up on the case," Deters said Monday. "We just want to back off and see what he has to say before we make a move."

    On Sunday, the NFL announced that lawyers for Walsh and the league are nearing an agreement that would allow Walsh to be interviewed and turn over information to the NFL.

    A lawyer for Walsh told The Associated Press on Sunday that he was hopeful an agreement could be reached that would give his client the "necessary legal protections so (he) can come forward with the truth."

    Last season, the NFL fined Patriots coach Bill Belichick $500,000, the team $250,000, and docked the Patriots a first-round draft pick after determining the Patriots illegally taped the New York Jets' defensive signals in Week 1. Belichick is a named defendant in the lawsuit.

    Deters expects U.S. District Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle to sign off on the dismissal.

    "This is a pretty standard thing," Deters said. "It happens a lot in litigation."

    The lawsuit accused the Patriots of fraud, unfair trade practices and engaging in a "pattern of racketeering." The plaintiffs wanted the case certified as a class action on behalf of anyone who purchased a Super Bowl ticket or attended the game; all Rams employees on the 2002 team; and any owner of a Rams seat license for the 2001-2002 season.

    Gary was signed by the Rams as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2001 and released by the team in September 2002. He has played for the Arena League's Georgia Force since 2003.

    Two fans who attended the 2002 Super Bowl and a Rams seat license owner also were plaintiffs in the suit.

    Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the suit had no "factual or legal basis."

    "Dismissal at this stage -- before the complaint was even served -- probably helps the plaintiffs' lawyers avoid being sanctioned. It was a publicity-driven, frivolous claim and I don't think anyone took it too seriously," James said in a statement.

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  • RamWraith
    Lawyers skeptical of suit over Rams' Super Bowl loss
    by RamWraith
    By Robert Patrick
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    02/21/2008

    St. Louis — How much would it be worth if you could prove your team was cheated out of a Super Bowl win? How much for a player? How much for a fan? How much for a gambler?

    A lawyer in Louisiana and two in Ohio are trying to find out — on behalf of at least two St. Louis area men and one former player for the 2002 Super Bowl-losing St. Louis Rams.

    Styling themselves the underdogs, the lawyers say it may come down to a race against the National Football League to elicit help from ex-New England Patriots employee Matt Walsh, and videotapes he may have.

    But legal experts who looked at the case this week were skeptical — beginning with the challenge of proving there was cheating and, if so, that it changed the game's outcome.


    The case — which names the Patriots, team owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick — is rooted in allegations that the Patriots spied on opposing teams via videotape for years, in violation of NFL rules. The team and Belichick already were fined $750,000 by the league for taping the New York Jets in 2007, but they denied taping the Rams or other teams.

    Earlier this month, Rams President John Shaw said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told him "there was no new information that would suggest anything contrary to what was said by the Patriots."

    Last week, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who is investigating the allegations, said Goodell told him the Patriots have been taping since 2000.

    Walsh has balked at cooperating with an inquiry without legal protections that his lawyer said the NFL has not yet provided. Specter told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the civil suit may offer the shield Walsh needs.

    On Friday, lawyers filed a civil suit in federal court in New Orleans, where Super Bowl XXXVI was played, seeking approval as a class action to represent thousands of fans who attended the game, owners of Rams personal seat licenses, and players and employees of the team.

    The Rams were favored to win the Feb. 4, 2002, game, but suffered three turnovers and lost 20-17 on a Patriots field goal with seconds left.

    The suit was filed on behalf of former Rams player Willie Gary, loyal fan Peter Trout of St. Charles, who has owned two personal seat licenses since 1995, Super Bowl attendee Marcus Miller of Collinsville, and Cincinnati ticket broker Kevin Hacker.

    Miller and Trout could not be reached for comment, and their lawyers declined to make them available.

    On Sunday night, Belichick again denied the accusations, telling The Boston Globe he never saw another team's practice in his entire career.

    Lawyers filed an amended suit Tuesday, seeking to add all NFL teams that were injured or had losses, and their personal seat license holders....
    -02-21-2008, 11:48 AM
  • MauiRam
    Belichick Denies Taping Rams Before Superbowl ..
    by MauiRam
    Updated: February 18, 2008, 12:59 AM EST
    BOSTON (AP) - Patriots coach Bill Belichick broke his silence on New England's twin taping controversies, denying he told anyone to tape the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl and apologizing for all the attention generated by Spygate. Belichick also told the Boston Globe he "couldn't pick Matt Walsh out of a lineup." Walsh, a former Patriots employee, reportedly taped St. Louis' walkthrough practice the day before the Patriots beat the Rams 20-17 in the championship.

    "In my entire coaching career, I've never seen another team's practice film prior to playing that team," Belichick said in a story posted on the Globe's Web site Sunday night. "I have never authorized, or heard of, or even seen in any way, shape, or form any other team's walkthrough. We don't even film our own."

    Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli also told the newspaper that part of the reason Walsh was fired in January 2003 was because he secretly recorded conversations between himself and Pioli.

    Michael Levy, Walsh's attorney, said Pioli's account was a "complete fabrication."

    "This is a predictable and pathetic effort to smear Mr. Walsh's character rather than confront the truth about the Patriots' conduct," Levy said in the Globe story.

    Levy has said his client is willing to turn over videotapes he made for the team if the NFL guarantees Walsh protection from lawsuits or other legal action.

    Commissioner Roger Goodell has said he offered Walsh a deal requiring him "to tell the truth and he has to return anything he took improperly" in return for indemnity, but Levy has said the deal doesn't go far enough.

    Goodell fined Belichick $500,000, the Patriots $250,000 and took away a first-round draft choice after the Patriots were caught taping New York Jets' coaches in last year's season opener, a 38-14 New England victory.

    Belichick said he misinterpreted the rule, which he felt only prohibited taping that could be used during the same game.

    He also apologized for the controversy the taping caused.

    "I respect the integrity of the game and always have and always will," he said in the Globe story. "I regret that any of this, or to whatever extent, it has in any way brought that into question or discussion or debate. The decision was made by the commissioner, the practice was immediately stopped, and we're not doing it.

    "Just going back over the whole taping incident, if I contacted the league and asked them about the practice, I'm sure they would have told me - as they have done - that it is not permissible. Then I could have avoided all of this.

    "I take responsibility for it," he said. "Even though I felt there was a gray area...
    -02-18-2008, 12:13 AM
  • RamOfDenmark
    Walsh's lawyer confirms: Walsh has videotapes
    by RamOfDenmark
    Matt Walsh's lawyer asks NFL to protect his client on Spygate tapes

    By DAVE GOLDBERG, AP Football Writer
    February 15, 2008

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The lawyer for former New England Patriots employee Matt Walsh said his client is willing to turn over videotapes he made for the team if the NFL guarantees Walsh protection from lawsuits or other legal action.

    Attorney Michael Levy said that to date, the NFL's initial proposals are not sufficient protection for Walsh, who is said to have taped the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough practice the day before they played the Patriots in the 2002 Super Bowl. The Patriots won. 20-17.

    "The NFL's proposal is not full indemnification," Levy told The Associated Press Friday in a telephone interview from his office at the Washington law firm of McKee Nelson.

    "It is highly conditional and still leaves Mr. Walsh vulnerable. I have asked the NFL to provide Mr. Walsh with the necessary legal protections so that he can come forward with the truth without fear of retaliation and litigation. To best serve the interest of the public and everyone involved, I am hopeful that the NFL will do so promptly."

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said he's offered Walsh a deal whereby "he has to tell the truth and he has to return anything he took improperly" in return for indemnity.

    "No one wants to talk to Matt Walsh more than we do," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Friday.

    "But his demand to be released from all responsibility even if his comments are not truthful is unprecedented and unreasonable. The NFL and the Patriots have assured Mr. Walsh's lawyer that there will be no adverse consequences for his client if Mr. Walsh truthfully shares what he knows. Why does he need any more protection than that?"

    Walsh, now a golf pro in Maui, did video work for the Patriots when they won the first of their three Super Bowl after the 2001 season.

    Goodell said Walsh was not interviewed as part of the NFL's investigation into "Spygate," which involved the NFL confiscating tapes from a Patriots employee who recorded the New York Jets' defensive signals from the sideline during the opening game of the 2007 season.

    As a result of that investigation, New England coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team was fined $250,000 and forfeited its 2008 first-round draft choice.

    Six confiscated tapes and other documents pertaining to the Patriots' taping were subsequently destroyed by the league. Goodell has defended the destruction of the tapes.

    Levy, who is continuing to negotiate with the NFL on Walsh's behalf, also objected to NFL security's investigation of his client.

    "Sending a former FBI agent to investigate his professional and personal life has not left Mr....
    -02-15-2008, 05:40 PM
  • RamWraith
    Boston Herald-Possible Rams/Pats Superbowl Spygate?
    by RamWraith
    From th3 Boston Herald

    Source: Pats employee filmed Rams

    By John Tomase | Saturday, February 2, 2008 |

    Photo by Nancy Lane
    PHOENIX - One night before the Patriots face the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, new allegations have emerged about a Patriots employee taping the Rams’ final walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI.

    According to a source, a member of the team’s video department filmed the Rams’ final walkthrough before that 2002 game. The next day, the Patriots upset St. Louis, 20-17, on a last-second field goal by Adam Vinatieri for their first championship.

    A walkthrough involves practicing plays at reduced speed without contact or pads. It is common for teams to film their own walkthroughs and practices.

    When contacted last night, Patriots vice president of media relations Stacey James said: “The coaches have no knowledge of it.”

    Yesterday, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) stated that he plans to summon NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before Congress to explain why he destroyed tapes that showed the Patriots stealing defensive signals over the last two years.

    After his state of the NFL press conference yesterday, Goodell was asked if the league’s investigation into the Pats included allegations that they recorded the Rams walkthrough in 2002.

    “I’m not aware of that,” Goodell said.

    “We have no information on that,” seconded NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

    According to a source close to the team during the 2001 season, here’s what happened. On Feb. 2, 2002, one day before the Patriots’ Super Bowl game against heavily favored St. Louis in New Orleans, the Patriots visited the Superdome for their final walkthrough.

    After completing the walkthrough, they had their team picture taken and the Rams then took the field. According to the source, a member of the team’s video staff stayed behind after attending the team’s walkthrough and filmed St. Louis’ walkthrough.

    At no point was he asked to identify himself or produce a press pass, the source said. The cameraman rode the media shuttle back to the hotel with news photographers when the Rams walkthrough was completed, the source said.

    It’s not known what the cameraman did with the tape from there. It’s also not known if he made the recording on his own initiative or if he was instructed to make the recording by someone with the Patriots or anyone else.

    The next day, the Patriots opened a 14-3 halftime lead on the Rams, who were 14-point favorites and operators of an offense known as “The Greatest Show on Turf.”

    The Rams didn’t begin moving the ball until the fourth quarter, when their 14-point rally pulled the teams into a 17-17 tie with less than two minutes remaining. Tom Brady then led the most famous drive in Patriots history for the winning field goal.

    The...
    -02-02-2008, 07:28 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams sue Pats for 100 million!!
    by RamWraith
    From the Wallstreet Journal

    February 15, 2008, 3:31 pm
    Former Ram, Others, Sue Patriots Over Alleged Videotaping
    Posted by Dan Slater

    Super BowlTwo days after Roger Clemens tesified before Congress about alleged steroid use, allegations of illicit activities in sports stand to tarnish another dynasty.

    Lawyers for a former St. Louis Ram, Willie Gary, and others filed a complaint today against the New England Patriots and the Patriots’ coach, Bill Belichick. Here’s a copy of the complaint. The suit, a putative class action filed in federal court in Louisiana, seeks more than $100 million (that’s not a typo) for alleged “fraudulent videotaping” of the Rams walk-through practice prior to the 2002 Super Bowl. In addition to Gary, the putative plaintiffs are ticket purchasers and the 72,922 attendees of the Super Bowl. Here’s an early story from the Boston Herald.

    This suit is based on allegations that a team employee recorded the Rams walk-through practice on the Saturday before Super Bowl XXXVI at the Louisiana Superdome. The Patriots won the game 20-17. Here are earlier NYT stories (here and here) on the imbroglio.

    The Patriots and the NFL have said there is no evidence that the 2002 taping occurred.
    -02-15-2008, 02:24 PM
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