Investigator: NFL should have sought more info in Rice case

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Mueller: No Evidence NFL Saw Ray Rice Video

NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL failed to investigate the Ray Rice case properly, former FBI director Robert S. Mueller said in a report that also said he found no evidence the league received a video of the Ravens running back knocking out his fiancee in a casino elevator.

"The NFL should have done more with the information it had and should have taken additional steps to obtain all available information about the Feb. 15 incident," Mueller said in a statement after releasing his 96-page report.

Mueller said he can find no evidence the league received the video showing Rice striking his fiancee before it was published online in September. A law enforcement official showed The Associated Press videos of the incident and said he mailed a DVD to NFL headquarters in April.

The report said a review of phone records and emails of NFL employees showed no evidence that anyone in the league had seen the video before Commissioner Roger Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games.

The private investigation, without subpoena power, did not include any contact with the law enforcement official who showed the AP the videos. The officer played the AP a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number dated April 9, in which a woman verifies receipt of the DVD and says: "You're right, it's terrible."

The official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to share the evidence, told the AP on Thursday he didn't speak with investigators.

"I took steps to ensure a call from any person at the NFL wouldn't be traced back to me and I was never contacted by the team of investigators hired by the NFL to investigate the NFL," he said. "I still don't know who confirmed receiving the video and I don't know what that person did with it."

"We have reviewed the report and stand by our original reporting," said Kathleen Carroll, the AP's executive editor.

"The Mueller team did ask us for source material and other newsgathering information, but we declined. Everything that we report and confirm goes into our stories. We do not offer up reporters' notes and sources."

Giants owner John Mara and Steelers President Art Rooney, the men appointed by Goodell as liaisons to the investigation, said the 32 team owners were briefed in a conference call Thursday morning. They all expressed their belief Goodell told the truth throughout the investigation.

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Investigator: NFL should have sought more info in Rice case
Ray Rice released a statement Friday apologizing for the domestic issue incident that led to his dismissal from the Ravens.
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Janay Rice (middle) speaks with Matt Lauer, of NBC News. (Today/NBC News)
Ray Rice arrives for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Suspended Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice (R) and his wife Janay Palmer arrive for a hearing on November 5, 2014 in New York City. Rice is fighting his suspension after being caught beating his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Suspended Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice (R) and his wife Janay Palmer arrive for a hearing on November 5, 2014 in New York City. Rice is fighting his suspension after being caught beating his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Suspended Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice (R) and his wife Janay Palmer arrive for a hearing on November 5, 2014 in New York City. Rice is fighting his suspension after being caught beating his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Suspended Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice (R) and his wife Janay Palmer arrive for a hearing on November 5, 2014 in New York City. Rice is fighting his suspension after being caught beating his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator in February 2014. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Janay Rice, back left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2013, file photo, Jeffery Miller, NFL vice president of security, addresses the media at a news conference for Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. The video of Ray Rice punching his fiancee inside a casino elevator was sent to NFL headquarters to the attention of Miller in April, a law enforcement official says. The NFL has repeatedly said no one with the league saw the violent images until TMZ Sports released the video earlier this month. Miller said Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, through an NFL spokesman that he never received the video. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
OWINGS MILLS, MD - MAY 23: Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens pauses while addressing a news conference with his wife Janay at the Ravens training center on May 23, 2014 in Owings Mills, Maryland. Rice spoke publicly for the first time since facing felony assault charges stemming from a February incident involving Janay at an Atlantic City casino. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2014, file photo, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice sits on the sideline in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Baltimore. The Ravens have cut Ray Rice. Hours after the release of a video that appears to show Rice striking his then-fiancee in February, the team terminated his contract Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, right, speaks alongside his wife Janay during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
FILE - In this July 31, 2014, file photo, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, right, walks off the field with Justin Forsett before addressing the media at a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. The Ravens have cut Ray Rice. Hours after the release of a video that appears to show Rice striking his then-fiancee in February, the team terminated his contract Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, right, speaks alongside his wife Janay during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Janay Rice listens as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, not pictured, speaks during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife Janay made statements to the news media May 5, 2014, at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, Md, regarding his assault charge for knocking her unconscious in a New Jersey casino. On Monday, Sept. 9, 2014, Rice was let go from the Baltimore Ravens after a video surfaced from TMZ showing the incident. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice answers question during a news conference after NFL football training camp, Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Owings Mills, Md.(AP Photo/Gail Burton)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 16: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens sits on the bench against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of their preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 16: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens smiles during warm ups before their game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on August 16, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
OWINGS MILLS, MD - MAY 23: Baltimore Ravens assistant director of public relations Patrick M. Gleason holds the door as running back Ray Rice enter a news conference followed by his wife Janay Rice and Ravens team President Dick Cass at the Ravens training center on May 23, 2014 in Owings Mills, Maryland. Rice spoke publicly for the first time since facing felony assault charges stemming from a February incident involving Janay at an Atlantic City casino. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice enters an NFL football news conference with his wife Janay, back right,, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Ravens football player and former Rutgers University standout, Ray Rice holds hands with his wife Janay Palmer as they arrive at Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing, N.J., Thursday, May 1, 2014. After Rice and Janay Palmer got into a physical altercation on Feb. 15 at an Atlantic City casino, both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, left, leaves a NFL football news conference with his wife Janay, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Ray Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, left, looks back as he hugs his father-in-law Joe Palmer after an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Rice spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his fiance, now his wife, at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice pauses as he speaks during an NFL football news conference, Friday, May 23, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. Rice and his wife Janay spoke to the media for the first time since his arrest for assaulting his then-fiance at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Baltimore Ravens football player and former Rutgers University standout, Ray Rice holds hands with his wife Janay Palmer as they arrive at Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing, N.J., Thursday, May 1, 2014. After Rice and Janay Palmer got into a physical altercation on Feb. 15 at an Atlantic City casino, both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice, second from left, and his attorney Michael Diamondstein stand during Rice's arraignment at the Atlantic County Courthouse Thursday, May 1, 2014, in Mays Landing, N.J. Rice's wife Janay Palmer is seated at right. After Rice and Palmer got into a physical altercation on Feb. 15 at an Atlantic City casino, both were charged with simple assault-domestic violence. (AP Photo/The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tom Gralish, Pool)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice removes his jersey after a training camp practice, Thursday, July 24, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo)
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice walks off the field after a training camp practice, Thursday, July 24, 2014, at the team's practice facility in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JULY 17: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sits in the crowd during the the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Levi Stadium on July 17, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Maine Governor Paul LePage in his office at the State House in Augusta. LePage, who was beaten by his father when he was young and has made domestic abuse prevention and awareness a priority of his administration, wrote a scathing letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the controversial two-game suspension levied on Ray Rice after a domestic incident involving his wife at a N.J. hotel.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference at the NFL's spring meeting, Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in Atlanta. Goodell has been criticized for suspending Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games following a domestic incident at a N.J. hotel.
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They reiterated their backing of Goodell, whose job never appeared in jeopardy despite the missteps by the league in the Rice case and calls for scrutiny of him from outside groups.

"There was resounding support for Roger," Rooney said. "There's a very strong confidence in Roger going forward in terms of him being the commissioner of the league."

Still, Mueller found the NFL's deference to the law enforcement process involving Rice "led to deficiencies in the league's collection and analysis of information during its investigation." He added such an approach "can foster an environment in which it is less important to understand precisely what a player did than to understand how and when the criminal justice system addresses the event."

Mueller's report details some of the efforts the NFL made in obtaining the video, but said the league should have taken additional steps to find out what happened inside the elevator.

"League investigators did not contact any of the police officers who investigated the incident, the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office, or the Revel to attempt to obtain or view the in-elevator video or to obtain other information," the report said. "No one from the league asked Rice or his lawyer whether they would make available for viewing the in-elevator video they received as part of criminal discovery in early April."

The report also said the league didn't follow up on initial conversations with the Ravens to determine whether the team had more information.

The official showed the AP multiple videos from the casino the night Rice was arrested. Those videos included security cameras from inside and outside the elevator and two cellphone videos that included some audio.

The league said it considered the video published by TMZ in September to be new evidence meriting an indefinite suspension. Its emergence drew renewed backlash to the league from women's organizations, members of Congress and players - all calling for more detail on how the NFL handled the case.

Mara and Rooney said Mueller made six recommendations that the owners will review. They agreed that the league's policy on domestic violence was insufficient.

"We were slow to react, and in the case of Ray Rice, the original punishment was insufficient," their statement said. "In addition, the steps taken by the NFL to investigate this matter were inadequate. Since then, a new policy concerning domestic violence and other rules for conduct violations have been put into place."

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