Tuesday’s article from Jenny Vrentas of the New York Times took a deep dive into not only alleged victims of Deshaun watson but also his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, communicating with Harris County, Texas prosecutors regarding the investigation and eventual grand jury proceedings arising from the criminal complaints filed against Watson.
Vrentas writes that Hardin commenced a “regular dialogue” with assistant district attorney Johna Stallings in early 2022.
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 24 women who have sued Watson in civil court, posted a statement criticizing the extent to which Hardin and the prosecutor communicated.
“I personally contacted the Harris County DA’s office one time on behalf of the victims to make available to her my clients and any evidence I had collected. My team also did so. They wouldn’t even talk to us!”
Buzbee continued, “I had no idea that the Assistant District Attorney was regularly corresponding with Deshaun Watson’s lawyer by email and text; I didn’t know that the Assistant District Attorney actually went to Hardin’s office to discuss the cases; I didn’t know that Watson’s lawyer provided a PowerPoint that was to be used before the grand jury. I didn’t know, but know now after speaking to the investigating officer under oath, that the police investigation team was convinced that Watson had committed more than ten sexual crimes, or that the ADA had prevented the investigating officers from talking to the women who had filed lawsuits but had not filed criminal complaints.
And what I do know is that, of the multiple criminal complainants in Houston, only one was asked by the ADA to appear in front of the grand jury, even though other victims were standing by to do so. As a taxpayer, and more importantly as the advocate for these women, I feel “home towned” in my own home town, and duped. I think the public and all interested were duped as well. Makes you wonder. . . Thank God for the civil justice system.”
The New York Times’ Jenny Vrentas report found that Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson booked massage therapy sessions with 66 women over the span of 17 months. The former Texans quarterback seemingly replied to the article in an Instagram story posted Tuesday.
The 26-year-old quoted the song “Rich Off Pain” and included the lyrics, “See, the blogs can’t break me down, see, I’m the voice, I don’t reply. But the rumors y’all done heard, I’ma humbly deny, yeah, yeah.”
Watson is facing 24 active civil lawsuits filed by massage therapists, each detailing graphic accounts of sexual harassment and sexual assault that occurred during massage therapy sessions. The accounts range from Watson allegedly refusing to cover his genitals to the quarterback “touching [a plaintiff] with his penis and trying to force her to perform oral sex on him.”
The quarterback denied assaulting, harassing or disrespecting any woman during his introductory press conference with Cleveland in March.