NFL lawyer

Lawyer assigned to Miami Dolphins case has compiled record of fairness

 

Ted Wells, hired by the NFL to investigate the Dolphins, has a reputation of integrity and thoroughness.

WEB VOTE Who do you have the least sympathy for in the Miami Dolphins’ bullying scandal?

abeasley@MiamiHerald.com

Ted Wells might just be the best trial lawyer in the country.

For the Dolphins, however, he must essentially play an unfamiliar role: judge and jury of an NFL franchise’s locker room behavior.

Wells, the New York-based, white-collar criminal-defense attorney, on Wednesday was named the NFL-appointed special counsel investigating allegations that Richie Incognito harassed and emotionally abused Jonathan Martin.

Technically, Wells, 63, has been tasked only with compiling a report on the team’s workplace conduct. However, the Dolphins have essentially said that they will accept whatever he produces.

Meaning: Wells, for at least the time being, has nearly as much power over their future as their owner.

But, incredibly, it’s not the biggest assignment of his career.

Wells has been the lawyer to political stars, with a client list that includes top Republican aide I. Lewis “Scooter’’ Libby, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Robert Torricelli.

He was named by The National Law Journal as one of the decade’s most influential lawyers.

And he has built a reputation of fairness, integrity and thoroughness — exactly what the Dolphins need during arguably the darkest stretch of their 48-year history.

“If the Dolphins think there’s no way out of this from this debacle, they should rest easy, because Ted will be fair and find a proper resolution,” said Torricelli, the former U.S. congressman and senator from New Jersey.

Torricelli, known as the Torch, was the subject of a three-year Justice Department probe over campaign financing but never charged. Wells was his attorney.

“I think the most important thing about Ted is he’s not by nature a judgmental person,” Torricelli explained. “He’s completely fair.

“One of the reasons I hired Ted was I thought he had objectivity and he wasn’t judgmental. He’s a person without prejudice. Obviously, I have a great deal of respect for him.”

Through a spokeswoman, Wells declined comment Thursday. In a league release, he pledged to “begin my work immediately and report my findings to the commissioner as soon as practical.”

This is not Wells’ first foray into a sports scandal. He was the special investigator into the Bernie Fine sexual-harassment saga at Syracuse University.

Wells, who has an MBA and law degree from Harvard, also looked into a leadership dispute in the NBA’s players union.

“Everyone thinks the world of him,’’ said Carey Dunne, president of the New York City Bar.

Perhaps Wells defends politicians so astutely because he has a background in politics.

He served as national treasurer for Sen. Bill Bradley’s presidential campaign. Wells also is the chairman emeritus of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Board of Directors.

Wells has a bachelor’s degree from Holy Cross, an MBA from Harvard Business and — like Martin’s mother, Jane Howard-Martin — a law degree from Harvard as well.

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