UPDATED 4/19, 12:38 p.m. ET: Deshaun Watson’s legal team has released its response to allegations of sexual misconduct, with the quarterback again denying the accusations and now requesting a jury trial.
In the newly released documents Monday, Watson’s team claims that after massage therapy sessions, “plaintiffs bragged about, praised and were excited to massage Mr. Watson,” naming individual accusers and adding that some said they’d “gladly work with him again,” while another “eagerly showed up at his house.”
The documents go on to allege that accusers “willingly worked with” Watson later on, “lied about” the number of sessions they had, “lied about their alleged trauma and resulting harm,” told others they “wanted to get money out of” Watson, and “scrubbed” social media accounts of “evidence.”
“Mr. Watson requests a jury trial and submits the applicable fee contemporaneous with this filing,” the document read.
UPDATED 4/14, 11:15 a.m. ET: One of the women who accused Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct has dropped her civil lawsuit, the NFL Network’s Tom Peliserro reports.
“We believe we have names for 20 of the 22 lawsuits. We’ve got one dismissed and we’re looking for one (name),” Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Harden told Peliserro.
This comes a week after two judges ordered 14 of Watson’s accusers to disclose their names. The women’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, had this to say:
See original story below.
Deshaun Watson’s lawyer says his client did have sexual encounters with some of his accusers, but insists they were all consensual.
Attorney Rusty Hardin made the statement during a press conference Friday, as Watson faces sexual misconduct allegations from 22 women. The Houston Texans quarterback is accused of sexually harassing and/or assaulting the women during massage therapy sessions dating back to March 2020. Hardin told reporters that some of these sessions would result in sexual activity, but claims there was never any coercion or force.
“Were there consensual encounters? Yes,” Hardin said. “On some occasions, some sexual activities would have taken place … I’m not going into what it is, or the nature, or the numbers, or with whom, but I think you can rightfully assume that … The question that we have always been emphasizing, never at any time under any circumstances … did this young man ever engage in anything that was not mutually desired by the other party.”
Hardin was also pressed about the frequency of Watson’s massage sessions and why he was contacting the masseuses via Instagram. The attorney said his client needs about two to three massages a week to ensure his body is game-ready, and claimed Watson—like many other people his age—use social media for business transactions. Hardin also pointed to the lockdowns as one of the reasons for the Instagram communications, as many spas started to shut down in spring of last year.
“The fact is, the massage world during the pandemic changed. If you look at these allegations, my calculations is every one of them occurred after we shut down for the pandemic … Everything shut down in the middle of March. The first one of these allegations is late March of last year. That doesn’t mean that he was never using Instagram before … Millennials live on Instagram … Deshaun lives on Instagram. He does business transactions on [like] other people do.”
“How in the world are we supposed to respond if we don’t know the names of the people?” Hardin said. “We’re not supposed to have to guess who is accusing us of doing something wrong.”