Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s attorney has responded to the latest lawsuit against his client by filing several exhibits in court that appear to undermine the lawsuit’s allegations, including that Watson pressured the plaintiff to make the love at a hotel in Houston in December 2020.
Rusty Hardin, the attorney, is also asking the Harris County, Texas, court for monetary penalties against the attorneys who filed her to punish them for filing this “sham lawsuit,” as he describes it. The suit was the 26th overall by a woman who accused Watson of sexual misconduct during massage sessions.
Of those 26 lawsuits, 23 were settled out of court this year and one was dropped shortly after being filed in March 2021. Only two remain, including this news which was filed on October 13, the only prosecution to come after Watson received an 11-game suspension by the NFL over the allegations.
Hardin has already mounted an aggressive defense against him. In a filing, her law firm showed screenshots of the woman’s text messages to Watson that came after she claimed he forced her to have oral sex during the session. massage at the Houstonian hotel.
“The documents (the woman) provided reflect that for nearly a year after their massage session together, (the woman) sent over 35 messages to Mr. Watson, none of which received a response from Mr. Watson. “, says Hardin.
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Some of the text messages show the woman asking to see him again at the same hotel. Others appear to be sexually suggestive.
“I have the best head in all of Houston,” she wrote in September 2021, according to the documents.
“Let me know when you’re ready to make big deposits,” another text read.
Hardin said the woman’s complaint was filed in bad faith.
“This obviously doesn’t look like someone who has been pressured into performing oral sex,” the document he filed on Monday night reads.
Hardin has already obtained a court order requiring the woman to reveal her name in court documents after initially filing her under the pseudonym Jane Doe. USA TODAY’s policy is not to reveal the names of alleged victims of sexual assault unless they choose to come forward publicly.
“This evidence undeniably establishes that while this may be a case of unrequited love, it is in no way a case of assault,” Hardin said. “If (the woman’s law firm) had conducted the most superficial investigation, it would have confirmed this fact.”
An attorney for the plaintiff from Universal Law Group in Houston did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Hardin’s filing also indicates that the plaintiff in the last lawsuit appeared in his office on November 4, 2021, in response to a subpoena in the other lawsuit. It was there that the woman agreed to be interviewed by Watson’s attorney and provided them with text messages and direct messages, according to the filings.
During this conversation, the woman said, “I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t intimidated. I didn’t do anything I didn’t want to do. I didn’t do anything where I didn’t feel safe,” according to an affidavit filed by a witness to the conversation.
According to the affidavit, the woman also said, “I wish I loved her. Oh my God. I would like to be in love, and to love her… I don’t want to accuse her in criminal proceedings. It was not criminal. We were in there playing and that was it.
Watson has never been arrested or charged in these cases and he has denied any wrongdoing. Hardin’s file indicates that Houston police also interviewed this woman and dismissed her.
“Likewise, NFL investigators were fully aware of (the woman’s) allegations and chose not to base their findings on any of her incredulous claims,” Hardin’s filing reads.
The incidents described in all of the lawsuits allegedly occurred while Watson was a member of the Houston Texans. The Texans also reached confidential settlements with 30 women with Watson-related claims after they were accused of enabling his behavior and not preventing it. The Texans traded him to the Browns in March.
This new lawsuit is the only one of 26 not filed by the law firm of Houston attorney Tony Buzbee. After being filed this month by another company, the NFL said Watson’s disciplinary status remains unchanged but the league will monitor developments from there.
“Any behavior that warrants further investigation or possible additional penalties would be dealt with under the league’s personal conduct policy,” spokesman Brian McCarthy said at the time.
Follow journalist Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. Email: email@example.com.
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