Freeh hired by plaintiffs against Browns owner

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Former FBI Director Louis Freeh's firm has been hired by trucking companies suing Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam's company, Pilot Flying J.

Pilot Flying J, the nation's largest diesel fuel retailer, has been alleged to have bilked customers out of rebates.

Plaintiffs attorney Mark Tate confirmed to WBIR-TV in Knoxville and to the Plain Dealer in Cleveland on Wednesday that Freeh has agreed to work on the lawsuit filed after federal agents raided Pilot's headquarters last month.

Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns last year. He is the brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

The FBI alleges members of Pilot's sales team deliberately withheld rebates to boost Pilot profits and pad sales commissions. No criminal charges have been filed.

A Knoxville judge last month rejected a claim in the civil lawsuit that Jimmy Haslam was tampering with potential witnesses by contacting trucking companies and offering to reimburse them for any unpaid rebates.

Haslam was scheduled to speak at a transportation conference in Indianapolis on Thursday. Haslam was expected to take questions from the audience, but not from the media.

Freeh's firm last year issued a 267-page report for Penn State on the university's handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. He has also worked for the New Orleans Saints in response to the NFL's bounty probe; and investigated corruption allegations for FIFA.

A Pilot spokesman said the company had no comment on who was involved in the lawsuit.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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