The attorney for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson issued a response Monday in Harris County (Texas) District Court to the 22 lawsuits filed against Watson denying allegations and claims made against him and requesting a trial by jury.
The filing by Houston-area lawyer Rusty Hardin comes after two judges ruled earlier this month that the women suing Watson must replead and identify themselves. The women previously had filed complaints against Watson anonymously as Jane Does. A total of 23 women have filed civil suits alleging sexual assault and misconduct against Watson, with one dropping her suit last week.
"Today we answered the lawsuits filed against our client Deshaun Watson," Hardin said in a statement Monday. "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."
Monday's response claims that in the days since learning the identities of Watson's accusers, his legal team has "uncovered evidence that numerous allegations" in the cases against Watson "are simply not true or accurate."
Lawyer Tony Buzbee, who represents all 22 women with lawsuits against Watson, issued the following statement in response to Monday's filing.
"As fully anticipated and despite his lawyer's previous statements, Deshaun Watson's only defense is to call these brave women liars," Buzbee said. "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."
The Houston Police Department announced in a statement April 2 it had opened an investigation following a complaint being issued against Watson.
Texans general manager Nick Caserio told reporters last Friday the team will "respect the legal process" as it relates to Watson, and their focus remains on the upcoming offseason workout program and the 2021 NFL Draft.
The NFL is currently investigating the allegations against Watson.