New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis, already set to serve an eight-game suspension in the wake of Gregg Williams' bountygate, could be facing more trouble according to a new report by ESPN's Outside The Lines. The U.S. Attorney's office in the Eastern District of Louisiana has reportedly been told that Loomis rigged a device that from 2002 through 2004 could allow him to listen in on opposing coaches from his Superdome suite.
If true, Loomis could be in violation of not only NFL rules, but of federal law as well. Greg Bensel, the Saints' vice president of communications, vehemently denied the allegations on behalf of Loomis, saying, "This is 1,000 percent false. This is 1,000 percent inaccurate."
Sources told OTL that the device was first installed in 2000 under former GM Randy Mueller to monitor communication amongst Saints' coaches. Loomis reportedly had the device re-wired to listen in exclusively on the opposition using an earpiece.
"There was a switch, and the switch accessed offense and defense," said the source. "When Randy was there, it was the Saints offense or defense, and when Mickey was there it changed over so it was the visiting offense or defense," the source said.
Loomis reportedly had the device removed in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The timing of the removal would be significant legally, as federal prosecutors only have a five-year window within the statute of limitations to act on the GM's alleged violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. The ECPA prohibits intercepting personal communication using an electronic or mechanical device.
The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell, on the other hand, could come down severely once again on the Saints. It should be noted, however, that OTL was unable to confirm for certain that Loomis ever actually used the device.
For more on Loomis and the Saints, head over to the SB Nation blog Canal Street Chronicles.