According to Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, ten women have filed complaints with Houston police about Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
On Monday, Hardin spoke with ESPN about the status of his client’s criminal and civil cases.
“Ten women have filed complaints with [Houston] police,” Hardin said.
According to Hardin, eight of the women are among the 22 women who have filed lawsuits alleging that Watson sexually assaulted them or engaged in sexually inappropriate behaviour during massage sessions.
According to Hardin, two of the women who have filed complaints with Houston police have not filed lawsuits against Watson.
“There are a couple of women about whom we know nothing,” Hardin explained.
Hardin admitted to knowing the names of the ten women who have filed criminal complaints, including the two who are not involved in civil litigation, but refused to provide them to ESPN.
When contacted on Monday, Houston police refused to comment on the investigation or the number of women who have filed complaints.
Watson and his legal team, according to Hardin, have fully cooperated with Houston police and the Harris County District Attorney’s office.
“We’re dealing with both of them and providing them with information,” Hardin explained.
“We are fully cooperating with the authorities. We are fully cooperating with the district attorney’s office and will fully cooperate with the NFL once the criminal investigation is completed.”
According to Hardin, NFL investigators have yet to interview Watson, which is typical in an ongoing criminal investigation.
“We’ve told the NFL that we’ll fully cooperate with them when they’re ready to meet with us. However, in deference to the criminal investigation, they always try to wait until that is completed before speaking with the accused person.”
Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 22 women suing Watson, said in a statement released to ESPN on Monday that he and his legal team are still handling “22 civil cases that make very serious and specific allegations.”
“As of today, nearly half of these women had provided sworn statements to police, and nearly half had spoken with the NFL’s investigative team. Both processes are extremely time-consuming. We anticipate providing additional information to the NFL from all victims “Buzbee stated.
Regarding the pending lawsuits, Hardin stated that while both parties have exchanged documents, depositions for the 22 women have yet to be scheduled. Depositions for the plaintiffs will begin in September, according to an agreement between the legal teams. Watson’s deposition will not take place until February of next year.
“It’s really just going through the motions of all civil litigation,” Hardin said of the depositions. “The exact dates of who would go when have yet to be determined. They will, however, begin in September.”
If Watson reaches a settlement with any or all of the women suing him, Hardin reiterated his desire to make any settlement public and stated that Watson would not sign any settlement that included a confidentiality agreement.
“I don’t want anyone to say that this guy paid off women to stay quiet, so if there was ever a settlement of any kind, it would have to be public, and both sides, [Watson] and the women, would be able to say whatever they wanted to the world at large.”
Hardin admitted on Monday that he is not involved in the decision-making process regarding Watson’s football future.
Even before the off-the-field legal battles this offseason, the Texans quarterback had been the subject of trade rumours for months.
“Teams are ready to jump right now if the Texans will trade with them, even while all of this is going on,” Hardin said. “There’s no doubt that teams, a lot of teams, are still interested. The ball is in the hands of the Texans.”
“As far as Watson’s football career,” Buzbee said, “I’m not focused on whether Watson will play; instead, I’m focused on the welfare of the women he had contact with and aggressively pursuing their cases in court.”