Only one lawsuit, last legal problem remaining for Deshaun Watson

HOUSTON (AP) — When the first wife accused Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct during a massage session in a lawsuit filed in March 2021, it was just the first step in a long saga that would eventually encompass 23 more civil lawsuits, a criminal investigation and the possibility of an indefinite suspension by the NFL.

After Thursday’s announcement that Watson and the NFL had agreed to an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine as part of a settlement of his disciplinary case, the only legal issue remaining in suspense for the Cleveland Browns quarterback is an unsettled lawsuit.

“Now, except for one last civil case, he can look at it and say he’s closed the door on this case, at least the legal process,” said David Ring, a California-based attorney who is unrelated to the lawsuits and has represented victims of sexual assault. “As far as the court of public opinion and how the fans react to him, that’s something he’s still going to deal with, I think for a while.”

Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the 24 women who sued Watson, was upset by the NFL settlement.

At a press conference earlier this month, Buzbee called on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell “to do the right thing.” After Watson was suspended for six games by a retired federal judge who had been appointed by the league and players’ union to act as an independent disciplinary officer, the NFL appealed the decision and said that she would push for an indefinite suspension.

“By settling this matter the way he did, Roger Goodell has proven one of two things: either his recent rhetoric was completely idiotic, or his bark is far worse than his bite,” Buzbee said in a released statement. Thursday. “The message today to all victims is clear, if you think you have been sexually assaulted by a powerful person, keep your mouth shut and leave.”

Watson was still with the Houston Texans when the 24 women filed lawsuits alleging he exposed himself, touched them with his genitals or kissed them against their will during massage appointments. A woman alleged that Watson forced her to perform oral sex.

Watson has long denied any wrongdoing and was traded to the Browns in March.

“Yes, I am moving on with my career and my life, and I continue to defend my innocence,” Watson told reporters in Berea, Ohio, after the settlement was announced.

The lawsuits led to criminal investigations, including by Houston police.

In a deposition, Houston Police Detective Kamesha Baker, the criminal investigation’s lead investigator, told Buzbee she believes Watson committed crimes in the 10 criminal complaints filed against the quarterback. . But in March, two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson.

Earlier this month, Buzbee announced that Watson had settled 23 of the 24 lawsuits against him.

Buzbee previously announced that 30 women who accused the Texans of turning a blind eye to allegations against their former star quarterback have settled their lawsuits against the team.

The terms of the settlement related to the lawsuits against Watson and the Texans were confidential.

“Just because settlements and things like that happen doesn’t mean a person is guilty of anything,” Watson said.

Buzbee said he would continue to discuss the remaining lawsuit with Watson’s legal team.

“I think these victims see it as if it’s a mixed bag,” Ring said. “They didn’t get everything they wanted and unfortunately in our justice system, both criminal and civil, it’s hard to achieve a complete victory.”

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL




973espn-yourbasin

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button