HOUSTON – The attorney representing 22 women in civil lawsuits against Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson said he plans to depose the quarterback for 50 hours.
Tony Buzbee represents all of the women who are suing Watson.
Watson is accused of inappropriate conduct during massages that he set up through Instagram.
Attorneys on both sides have gone quiet over the last few weeks, which has led to suspicion that a settlement might be in the works.
“There has been an effort, we have tried, and it hasn’t happened,” Buzbee told KPRC 2.
Discovery in the case is set to begin on Monday.
According to Buzbee, no deposition dates have been set, but he said he plans to depose Watson on the background and then spend two hours questioning him on circumstances surrounding each individual lawsuit.
Buzbee also confirms four women have spoken to investigators with the NFL, but he is hesitant to allow more of his clients to speak with investigators because he says he does not like the way the women have been treated.
“My feedback was not good, and then I said, ‘Ok. On the fourth one I will be involved,’” Buzbee said. “When I am present they won’t be that way, and they weren’t.”
Buzbee said the fourth plaintiff to be interviewed by the NFL spent three hours with investigators.
“We are doing this voluntarily,” said Buzbee. “We are doing this as a courtesy.”
Watson has denied all allegations against him.
The Houston Police Department is also investigating.
The NFL responded to the interview with Buzbee saying:
The allegations are very concerning and the league immediately began investigating the matter under the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. The investigation includes gathering information, monitoring law enforcement developments and conducting interviews with relevant people willing to participate with counsel present.
Throughout her decades-long career as the chief of the sex crimes unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and most recently as the NFL’s special counsel for investigations for the last six years, Lisa Friel has earned a stellar reputation as a consummate professional who conducts investigations and interviews with compassion and fairness in an effort to determine the truth.
Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin also released the following statement in response to Buzbee:
“In a recent interview, Mr. Buzbee stated that “a settlement is not happening.” We certainly agree that there are currently no settlement negotiations being conducted. While we have never approached Mr. Buzbee about a settlement, he has approached us on numerous occasions in the past about the possibility of a settlement. We have made clear all along that there would be no settlement unless the terms are made public and all participants are allowed to speak in their own defense at all times. We want none of the participants—the plaintiffs or Mr. Watson—muzzled by a settlement agreement. Mr. Buzbee does not feel the same.
I am a little bemused by Mr. Buzbee pronouncing piously that his clients are not going to settle and that they want their cases to play out in court. The fact that this whole thing started with his attempt to extort money and avoid court shows that irony is not dead. I guess it has just been raised to a new level.”
Buzbee responded to Hardin’s statement saying: