HOUSTON - Six women accompanied the Buzbee legal team in court Thursday for a status conference in the lawsuits against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Attorney Tony Buzbee is representing 22 women in 22 lawsuits that have been filed since March. The lawsuits accuse the star football player of sexual harassment and assault during massages.
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin maintains that Watson is innocent in all 22 cases.
When FOX 26 asked him, Buzbee had said he expected 12 Watson accusers to accompany him to court Thursday. Ultimately, six women showed up.
"They’re here because they’ve been called liars, and they’re not liars," said Buzbee.
Watson was not present in court.
The purpose of the hearing was to come up with an agreed discovery plan, but Hardin took the opportunity to request an emergency hearing next week to address the fact that his legal team is still unable to confirm the identities of four of Watson’s accusers.
All accusers were initially anonymous until they were either ordered to or agreed to amend their petitions to include their names. Hardin filed a new motion Thursday, saying Buzbee declined to provide addresses, social security, and driver’s license information for the women as required by section 30.014 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
"Several of the plaintiffs’ names are too common to be able to identify a specific person, and as a result, Mr. Watson’s counsel has been unable to identify these plaintiffs," Hardin’s motion reads. "Mr. Buzbee continues to disregard basic, black-letter pleading rules. These obstructionist tactics continue to interfere with Mr. Watson’s ability to defend himself."
The judge told Hardin the timing of an emergency hearing would depend on docket availability.
"I’ve never ever experienced where six weeks after the lawsuits are brought, we still don’t know who all of them are, so in that sense, it’s unusual," Hardin told reporters after the status conference finished.
Hardin also told the judge in court Thursday that he believes Watson’s accusers have destroyed evidence and will continue to do so. Buzbee denied that and instead said he believes Watson was destroying evidence. Both sides requested the preservation of evidence.
"Deshaun Watson has unsent a lot of his direct messages on Instagram, and we’ve raised that issue before," said Buzbee as he left court. "We’ll deal with it when the time comes."
The lawsuits against Deshaun Watson will be back in court on Friday, May 7.
The women who appeared with Buzbee declined to comment when FOX 26 asked them questions.