Deshaun Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, has reportedly requested medical records from the quarterback’s accusers in order to show whether they suffered emotional distress after their encounters with Watson in massage sessions, according to USA Today.
So far only four of the 22 have produced some medical records, according to the newspaper, and none have produced a complete set of records.
“After publicly vilifying Mr. Watson for more than a year, plaintiffs now seek to withhold and conceal material evidence that would reveal the truth: Mr. Watson did not assault or harass any plaintiff,” Hardin said, via USA Today. “Mr. Watson respectfully requests that the court compel plaintiffs to fully comply with their discovery obligations.”
Watson is clear of criminal charges, but is still facing 22 active civil lawsuits concerning sexual harassment and assault during massage therapy sessions. The lawsuits describe accounts that range from Watson refusing to cover his genitals to “touching [a plaintiff] with his penis and trying to force her to perform oral sex on him.”
One plaintiff, Lauren Baxley, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by her therapist following her encounter with Watson. However, the therapist was not aware of text messages between Baxley and Watson and Hardin believes that undermines Baxley’s emotional distress case.
Baxley’s lawyers, Tony Buzbee and Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey, think otherwise.
“Her counselor explained that it is not uncommon for victims to keep in contact with their abusers,” they said in a statement to USA Today. “Doing so does not mean that the victim consented in any way to the perpetrator’s abusive behavior. Her counselor testified that the symptoms she observed with Ms. Baxley are consistent with someone who has been assaulted. Watson’s lawyers neglected to include any of this information of course.”
Baxley leaving out that information about reaching out to Watson about potentially scheduling another appointment following the sexual assault account made her therapist question whether everything Baxley said in their sessions was “fully truthful.”
The NFL’s investigation into Watson for violating the league’s personal conduct policy is still ongoing, and he could still face suspension.
He did not step on the field in 2021 because of legal cases and his demand to be traded from the Houston Texans. Watson led the NFL in passing with 4,823 yards in 2020, despite the team going 4-12 and firing head coach Bill O’Brien a month into the season.