HOUSTON - Deshaun Watson’s attorney has filed a response to the civil lawsuits against the Houston Texans quarterback.
There are 22 lawsuits against Watson in which women accuse him of assault and harassment during massage sessions.
Most of the women initially filed their lawsuits as Jane Does, but the lawsuits were refiled with their names last week.
In the response filed Monday, Watson denies the allegations and claims in the lawsuits.
The response also states that since learning the accusers’ identities, "his legal team has already uncovered evidence that numerous allegations in this onslaught of cases are simply not true or accurate."
The response lists the following claims:
"· After the massage therapy sessions with Mr. Watson, 8 plaintiffs bragged about, praised, and were excited about massaging Mr. Watson;
· 7 plaintiffs willingly worked or offered to work with Mr. Watson after their alleged incidents;
· 3 plaintiffs lied about the number of sessions they actually had with Mr. Watson;
· 3 plaintiffs lied about their alleged trauma and resulting harm;
· 5 plaintiffs told others they wanted to get money out of Mr. Watson; and
· 5 plaintiffs have scrubbed or entirely deleted their social media accounts."
The response to the lawsuits also states, "It was not until the plaintiffs saw an opportunity for a money grab that they changed their stories to convert therapy sessions they bragged about to friends and family to something much more nefarious. Innocent questions about whether the therapists were comfortable with the therapy Mr. Watson sought evolved into sexual inuendo that the plaintiffs used to bolster their claims for money."
The response also says the lawsuits are "replete with mischaracterizations" of Watson’s conduct.
"These range from being misleading, to fraudulent, to slanderous. Importantly, only two of the twenty-two lawsuits allege that Mr. Watson forced any type of sexual activity—an allegation Mr. Watson again vehemently denies," the response states.
Watson's attorney Rusty Hardin released the following statement on Monday:
"Today we answered the lawsuits filed against our client Deshaun Watson. 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. 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 [S.L.*], 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 [M.D.*], witnesses state that [M.D.*], 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."
*FOX 26 is not naming the plaintiffs who have not publicly identified themselves.
According to a source, at least two of the women, who filed civil lawsuits against Watson, have agreed to meet with NFL investigator Lisa Friel via Zoom. We've also learned that additional women involved in the lawsuits have agreed to meet with the Houston Police Department. Attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the women who filed the lawsuits, confirmed the report without further comment.
Buzbee also released a statement on Monday stating:
"As fully anticipated and despite his lawyer’s previous statements, Deshaun Watson’s only defense is to call these brave women liars. The weak and vague allegations made in Defendant’s response are demonstrably false. Watson can’t deny he sought out an unusually high number of women for massages on Instagram; he doesn’t deny he insisted on being nude or nearly nude; he can’t deny the massage sessions occurred; he can’t deny he wanted more than a "massage"; and he hasn’t credibly denied that something bad happened during the session—he instead claims that any sexual acts were consensual. Of course his definition of "consent" doesn’t comport with that of everyone else. I have faith that the court process will sort out the truth as these matters progress."