Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has strongly denied accusations of sexual assault and misconduct amid the 22 lawsuits he is facing this offseason. Attorney Rusty Hardin, who is representing the 25-year-old star signal-caller, previously said at least some of the women are lying about interactions they had with Watson and has now left no doubt about how he intends to defend his client.
“Today we answered the lawsuits filed against our client Deshaun Watson,” Hardin said in a statement shared by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “Mr. Watson has been adamant that he did not engage in any improper conduct and we strongly believe him. Therefore, the answer to the question of whether we are saying that all 22 plaintiffs are lying about the allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Watson is a resounding yes.
“We and Mr. Watson take allegations of sexual misconduct against women very seriously, as we all should. We have waited to respond to the numerous allegations made by Mr. [Tony] Buzbee and his clients until we could responsibly investigate. In the few days since his accusers’ names have been revealed, as was required by Texas law, we are discovering an avalanche of false accusations.
“Only two of these 22 lawsuits allege forced sexual activity, which Mr. Watson vehemently denies. In the case of Sheneé Lawson, her business manager acknowledged to Mr. Watson’s marketing manager that the contact was consensual, but she still wanted money. And in the case of Marchelle Davis, witnesses state that Ms. Davis was happy and excited after she massaged Mr. Watson. She lied about being alone at the spa with him. She knew there was a security guard present at all times when Mr. Watson was there. In addition, she told witnesses that if Mr. Watson had paid her off, she would have supported him instead of suing him.
“I hope everyone will take a fair and measured look at these accusations as we go forward in these cases. We certainly welcome anyone with relevant information to contact us. We do not expect to make any other comment today. The next hearing in this case is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.”
Earlier this month, Hardin explained that Watson admitted massages sometimes resulted in consensual sexual encounters but denied any wrongdoing. The Houston Police Department and NFL have opened investigations, and Watson could be banned from playing part or all of the 2021 season through the NFL’s personal conduct policy or via the commissioner’s exempt list regardless of the outcomes of any cases.