Rusty Hardin, the attorney for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, has released his most detailed statement refuting claims that Watson has sexually harassed and assaulted about two dozen women who were employed to give him massages.
In the statement, Hardin says the sexual assault allegations against Watson are false, and says that one of the plaintiffs who brought a case against Watson attempted to blackmail him.
Hardin issued the following statement to PFT:
“I want to emphasize from the outset that we and Deshaun recognize that sexual assault and harassment are not only illegal, but morally wrong. It takes courage for women to step up and report being abused, especially when they attach their names to a lawsuit. We do not take these accusations lightly. However, justice for the accused is equally important.
“The opposition lawyer has orchestrated a circus atmosphere by using social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits over the past seven days in a way calculated to inflame the public and smear Deshaun’s fine reputation. Furthermore, the tactic of rejecting our requests to confidentially provide the names of the plaintiffs so that we can fully investigate their claims makes uncovering the truth extremely difficult. Anonymity is often necessary as a shield for victims, but the opposition lawyer has used it as a sword to publicly humiliate Deshaun before he can even begin the truth-seeking process.
“I believe that any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false. And in the only case where we were able to identify a plaintiff, we have strong evidence that the allegation is false. In January this year, a woman tried to blackmail Deshaun by demanding $ 30,000 in exchange for her ‘indefinite silence’ over what she claimed was a consensual encounter. We believe this woman is the plaintiff in Case No. 2021-15613. (Please see the attached statement from Bryan Burney.) This also questions the legitimacy of the other cases.
“We have received numerous unsolicited comments in the last week from many licensed massage therapists who have worked with Deshaun over the years. These women describe him as a gentleman and a model client who never engaged in inappropriate behavior. In fact, prior to these lewd claims, everyone who associated with Deshaun described him as an outstanding, respectful, and compassionate man.
“Once again, we take the allegations very seriously, but we only ask that people do not rush to pass judgments, that they not be unduly swayed by the antics of opposition lawyers, and that they allow fundamental justice for both parties rule the day. Thanks for your patience and understanding.”