HOUSTON – Attorneys for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson have filed answers to the 22 civil cases filed against the football star.
In a court document filed Monday morning, attorney Rusty Hardin, who is representing Watson, wrote that his legal team has already uncovered evidence that numerous allegations in this onslaught of cases are simply not true or accurate.
The nearly two dozen lawsuits filed since mid-March accuse Watson of sexual misconduct during massages.
Originally, all of the cases were filed under the name Jane Doe, but in the last several days, attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents all of the accusers, amended his petitions to include the names of the plaintiffs after a judge ordered him to do so in some of the cases.
In this latest following Hardin said:
- Eight plaintiffs bragged about, praised and were excited about massaging Mr. Watson.
- Seven plaintiffs willingly worked or offered to work with Mr. Watson after their alleged incidents.
- Three plaintiffs lied about the number of sessions.
- Three plaintiffs lied about their alleged trauma and resulting harm.
- Five plaintiffs told others they wanted to get money out of Mr. Watson
- Five plaintiffs have scrubbed or entirely deleted their social media accounts.
“It was not until the plaintiffs saw an opportunity for a money grab that they changed their stories to convert therapy sessions they bragged about to friends and family to something nefarious,” Hardin wrote in the response.
Rusty Hardin also released this statement:
Today we answered the lawsuits filed against our client Deshaun Watson. Mr. Watson has been adamant that he did not engage in any improper conduct and we strongly believe him. Therefore, the answer to the question of whether we are saying that all 22 plaintiffs are lying about the allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Watson is a resounding yes.
We and Mr. Watson take allegations of sexual misconduct against women very seriously, as we all should. We have waited to respond to the numerous allegations made by Mr. Buzbee and his clients until we could responsibly investigate. In the few days since his accusers’ names have been revealed, as was required by Texas law, we are discovering an avalanche of false accusations.
Only two of these 22 lawsuits allege forced sexual activity, which Mr. Watson vehemently denies. In the case of Sheneé Lawson, her business manager acknowledged to Mr. Watson’s marketing manager that the contact was consensual, but she still wanted money. And in the case of Marchelle Davis, witnesses state that Ms. Davis was happy and excited after she massaged Mr. Watson. She lied about being alone at the spa with him. She knew there was a security guard present at all times when Mr. Watson was there. In addition, she told witnesses that if Mr. Watson had paid her off, she would have supported him instead of suing him.
I hope everyone will take a fair and measured look at these accusations as we go forward in these cases. We certainly welcome anyone with relevant information to contact us. We do not expect to make any other comment today. The next hearing in this case is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
KPRC 2 has reached out to Tony Buzbee. He issued the following statement:
“As fully anticipated and despite his lawyer’s previous statements, Deshaun Watson’s only defense is to call these brave women liars. The weak and vague allegations made in Defendant’s response are demonstrably false. Watson can’t deny he sought out an unusually high number of women for massages on Instagram. He doesn’t deny he insisted on being nude or nearly nude. He can’t deny the massage sessions occurred. He can’t deny he wanted more than a ‘massage,’ and he hasn’t credibly denied that something bad happened during the session. He instead claims that any sexual acts were consensual. Of course, his definition of ‘consent’ doesn’t comport with that of everyone else. I have faith that the court process will sort out the truth as these matters progress.”
KPRC 2 legal analyst Brian Wice gave his thoughts on the case.
“From the moment Tony Buzbee filed the first of these almost two-dozen lawsuits against Deshaun Watson, I have consistently pointed out that this litigation did not begin in earnest until Rusty Hardin had the opportunity to learn the identity of his client’s accusers and to subject their allegations to the meaningful adversarial testing due process and fundamental fairness require,” said Wice. “Mr. Hardin’s answers are a critical and essential first step in crafting a legal and factual narrative that begins to level the playing field for Deshaun Watson in both the court of law and the court of public opinion.”
This developing story will be updated.