HOUSTON – At least one of the women who has accused Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of assault attempted to blackmail him earlier this year, according to the football player’s attorney.
In a statement released Tuesday, attorney Rusty Hardin said that while he and Watson take the allegations seriously, “fairness to the accused is equally important.”
Hardin said he has a declaration by Watson’s manager, who claims the unidentified woman in one of the cases attempted to blackmail Watson after a consensual encounter in December. In the declaration, Watson’s manager claims the woman wanted $30,000 in exchange for her “indefinite silence.”
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“It is our belief this woman is the plaintiff in Cause No. 2021-15613,” Hardin said in the statement. “This calls into question the legitimacy of the other cases as well.”
According to Hardin, his investigation has been hindered by the refusal of attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the 14 women who have filed lawsuits against Watson, to confidentially release the names of Watson’s accusers.
“Anonymity is often necessary as a shield for victims but opposing counsel has used it as a sword to publicly humiliate Deshaun before the truth‑seeking process can even begin,” Hardin said in the written statement.
Hardin said he also has received unsolicited comments from massage therapists who have worked with Watson in recent years and that they describe Watson as “a model client who never engaged in inappropriate conduct.”