Attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the 22 women suing Deshaun Watson and accusing the Houston Texans quarterback of sexual assault and misconduct, told League of Justice founder Amy Dash that the FBI has contacted him about the lawsuits.
"Let's be clear, when somebody comes into your office on the 73rd floor of the Chase Tower, whether they're the FDA or the FBI, it's a big deal. Well, it was the FBI," Buzbee said. "They contacted me and I've met with them three times now and now they've met with several of the plaintiffs in the case."
Watson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, pushed back against Buzbee's claim that the FBI was investigating his client.
"I have absolutely no reason to believe that Deshaun is being investigated by the FBI," he said. "I have absolutely no reason to believe that Mr. Buzbee's spin is the truth or that it's any more accurate than any of the other misstatements he has sponsored. I simply do not believe the FBI is investigating Deshaun."
Watson is also facing 10 criminal complaints, with subpoenas sent out last week, per Mark Berman of Fox 26:
Mark Berman @MarkBermanFox26
According to sources with knowledge of the situation there is a Harris County grand jury investigation being used to determine if there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Texans?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Texans</a> quarterback Deshaun Watson stemming from the 22 civil lawsuits filed against… <a href="https://t.co/xRADFNry3R">pic.twitter.com/xRADFNry3R</a>
To this point, no criminal charges have been brought against Watson.
As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote on Aug. 15, "It’s possible that the subpoenas that have been issued target only documents relating to the allegations, and not testimony. If the subpoenas aren't targeting testimony, there are no dates set for such testimony to be presented to a grand jury. If that’s the case, the formal presentation of evidence to a grand jury may not happen for months."
How the Texans and NFL handle the situation heading into the 2021 season, especially if Watson isn't indicted before the new campaign begins, remains in question. It's possible that Watson could play while he awaits the decision of the grand jury.
But the NFL could also choose to put him on the Commissioner's Exempt List as it awaits more clarity on Watson's legal situation. That would precede any potential suspension down the line for Watson, depending on the result of the NFL's own investigation and whether he is formally charged with a crime.