Former head of FBI begins internal review after claims NFL received Ray Rice video

In a potentially devastating blow for Roger Goodell, a law enforcement official claims he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago – completely contradicting the commissioners claim that no one at the NFL had seen it before Monday.

The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail received from from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks for the video and says: ‘You’re right. It’s terrible.’

And in a sign the NFL is descending into full damage limitation mode, Goodell announced former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III will conduct a probe into how the league pursued and handled evidence as it investigated claims against Rice.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement that the investigation will be overseen by owners John Mara of the New York Giants and Art Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Goodell said that Mueller will have access to all NFL records and will have full cooperation from league personnel.

The law enforcement official, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, says he had no further communication with any NFL employee and can’t confirm anyone watched the video. The person said he was unauthorized to release the video but shared it unsolicited, because he wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment.

The NFL has repeatedly said it asked for but could not obtain the video of the Baltimore Ravens running back hitting Janay Palmer – who is now his wife – at an Atlantic City casino in February.

The league says it has no record of the video, and no one in the league office had seen it until it was released by TMZ Monday.

When asked about the voicemail Wednesday, NFL officials repeated their assertion that no league official had seen the video before Monday.
‘We have no knowledge of this,’ NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday. ‘We are not aware of anyone in our office who possessed or saw the video before it was made public on Monday. We will look into it.’

Despite the huge financial and legal resources at the NFL’s disposal, Goodell has repeatedly said the first time he saw the video was on Monday morning and has tried to shift the blame to law enforcement, claiming they denied him access to the footage.

Goodell, who was supposed to attend an award ceremony for Panthers owner Jerry Richardson in Charlotte Wednesday night, did not attend the event and instead changed his plans and headed back to New York.

More at The DailyMail Online.

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