CLEVELAND, Ohio — Deshaun Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, is seeking sanctions against the attorney for the 26th plaintiff accusing Watson of sexual misconduct during a massage appointment because “it’s a sham trial” .
In a Tuesday night phone interview with cleveland.com, Hardin says the plaintiff’s text messages to Watson — more than 35 that were sent in the year after the alleged December 2020 incident but were never returned by him according to the documents filed – show that she was not forced to have oral sex, which she alleges in her lawsuit.
Hardin says the plaintiff’s attorney, Anisah Nguyen, was in possession of the text messages when she filed the lawsuit on Oct. 13. Cleveland.com emailed and texted Nguyen asking for comment.
“He’s nothing but an extortionist and we’re not going to put up with him,” Hardin said. “The days of settling lawsuits you didn’t believe in are over.”
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Some of the text messages, screenshots of which appear in the filings, show the plaintiff asking Watson to meet her at the Houstonian Hotel, where the alleged incident took place during their only massage date. Some of the requests to see him again came just days after the alleged assault.
Other text messages from her appear to be sexually explicit about things she might do to him or vice versa.
“It obviously doesn’t sound like someone who was pressured into performing oral sex,” Hardin said.
Hardin’s partner Leah Graham, who also represents Watson, joined the call with cleveland.com and said the company has been silent about the nature of some of the cases long enough.
“I think the days when we bit our tongues and tried to be politically correct and tried to be a little careful about what the evidence shows and what the facts reveal – the days when that was over,” Graham said. “The truth will set us free.”
Hardin stressed that any attorney who tries to pull off the same stunt in the future will have to answer for it in court. He said Watson had settled 23 of the original 24 lawsuits – one is pending – so he could return to the field. All of those plaintiffs were represented by Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who told cleveland.com he dismissed five others. Nguyen told Cleveland.com earlier this month that his client spoke to Buzbee about the representation.
Watson is currently serving his 11-game suspension by the NFL under the Personal Conduct Policy, but is on track to play Dec. 4 in Houston, where most of the alleged incidents took place. He returned to the Browns facility on a limited basis Oct. 10 and can begin training with the team Nov. 14.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at the fall league meeting last week that Watson has met all of the terms of his suspension so far, including treatment for what the NFL has determined. as sexual assault, and that he should be reinstated for the final six. Games.
“He’s back (with the Browns) and as far as we’re concerned, it’s over,” Hardin said. “We settled a bunch of lawsuits for which we had no responsibility – which we felt were unfounded – but we settled them in order to sort out pretty much everything so he could start playing football.”
He said Watson also had to “settle the matter with the NFL. Both have been done now. And now, anyone who wants to file one of these lawsuits does so at their own risk because there is no such thing, and we will fight tooth and nail against every single one of them.
Watson, who also had to pay a $5 million fine as part of his settlement with the NFL, has maintained his innocence since the allegations first surfaced in 2020.
Hardin said Nguyen “allowed it to look like this could be a retrial. She never told anyone that this woman was interviewed by police in April 2021. That’s irresponsible for a lawyer to take on this case. She has an ethical responsibility to investigate a case and make sure that she feels there is a legitimate basis to bring it. Clearly, she has not done so, because his client was shunned by all who looked at him, for over a year.
He noted that the plaintiff was not only rejected by police, but also by the Harris County Grand Jury in Texas and the NFL when compiling its list of credible cases.
“It’s an outrageous lawsuit designed to get a quick settlement, and those days are over,” Hardin said. “This ship has sailed.”
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