NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - An Orleans Civil Court judge ruled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and three referees involved in the infamous “No-call” controversy should come to New Orleans in September to submit to legal questioning, as an attorney for a group of Saints fans pursue a fraud case.
The ruling came in spite of accusations from the NFL that there is “no meat” on those fraud claims.
NFL attorney Gladstone Jones walked out of civil court just moments after getting the news that Goodell would have to come to New Orleans to be deposed.
Attorney Tony LeMon is representing the Saints ticket-holders, who he argues have been the victims of fraud by the NFL, related to a questionable call made on a critical play in the waning moments of the Saints playoff game against the Rams.
“I’m ecstatic about it, we’ve waited a long time for this,” LeMon said after Monday’s ruling.
Civil Court Nicole Sheppard also ruled the depositions should occur in New Orleans.
While Jones is still maintaining there is no meat on the fraud claims, LeMon disagreed.
“I believe there is, the evidence will speak for itself,” LeMon said.
But, he said he can’t prove fraud until he submits the commissioner, and the referees, to legal questioning.
“You can’t look into their brain, but you can look at circumstantial evidence,” LeMon said.
According to LeMon, that circumstantial evidence will consist of the game video, the nature of the blatant calls and other factors.
“You also have to look at the fact that four of the seven officials were from the L.A. area, and you have to weigh all that,” LeMon said.
Though Sheppard said Goodell and the referees should come to New Orleans to be deposed in September, she did not set an exact date. In fact, the NFL said it still might lodge an appeal.
“We’ll see how the client wants to react to that,” Jones said.
LeMon said he remains optimistic his case will hold up.
“We believe we will get some meaty answers in the next 15 days, presuming they don’t go to the Supreme Court, and get this overturned,” LeMon said.
Jones said that decision should be made shortly.
LeMon said he has submitted 35 legal requests for information and 45 document requests, as he pursues the fraud case.
Sheppard gave the NFL 15 days to respond to those requests.