NFL appoints former FBI director to conduct investigation of Ray Rice case

The NFL has appointed former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III to conduct an investigation into how the league has pursued and handled the evidence in the Ray Rice domestic violence case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday night.

The NFL announced that Mueller will have full access to NFL records and personnel.


His investigation will be overseen by New York Giants owner John Mara and Pittsurgh Steelers owner Art Rooney.  Mueller was FBI director for a dozen years from 2001 to 2013. He's currently a partner in the law firm of WilmerHale and is based in Washington, D.C.

Both Mara and Rooney have close ties to Goodell.

Ravens team president Dick Cass worked previously at the same D.C. law firm as Mueller, but they didn't overlap and haven't worked together. Cass worked at the firm from 1972 to 2003. Cass was chairman of the firm's business transactions section and a member of its management committee.

The league and the Ravens have drawn heavy criticism for not obtaining a security video of Rice punching his then-fiancee inside a casino elevator in Atlantic City in February. Instead, the celebrity gossip website, TMZ, obtained the video and published it Monday. That led to Rice being indefinitely suspended by the NFL and his $35 million contract terminated by the Ravens.

An Associated Press report has alleged that an NFL executive got a a copy of the video from a law enforcement official in April. Goodell has said that law enforcement authorities and casino officials declined to provide the video.

Once the investigation is complete, the full report will be made public.

The NFL has done that before, most recently with investigator Ted Wells' report on the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.

Once the investigation was over, the NFL released Wells' findings. That included graphic language and references to sexual innuendo, alleged drug use and violence.