NFL lawyer Daniel Nash has admitted that there is no direct evidence linking New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to knowledge of the deflategate scandal.
Brady was handed a four-game ban for his part in the event, which occurred in the AFC championship game last season, while the destruction of a mobile phone was seen as crucial evidence during his appeal.
The 37-year-old sued the league after he failed at an evidence hearing, but district judge Richard Berman has brought the two sides forward for settlement talks.
During these talks, Nash, under questioning, said: "Is there a text in which Mr Brady instructs someone to put a needle in a football? No, there is not such direct evidence."
Nash went on to say that this is irrelevant however, as they can punish players if they believe that the integrity of the game has been compromised.
Brady had his phone destroyed shortly before meeting with investigator Ted Wells, and Nash claimed that this is "further evidence of culpability".
A second meeting is scheduled for August 19.