Rusty Hardin, the lawyer for Deshaun Watson, released a statement Thursday calling into question the motivation for attorney Tony Buzbee not submitting evidence of sexual assault allegations from multiple women made against the Houston Texans quarterback to police.
"I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Buzbee’s failure to go to law enforcement does not result from some baseless fear that HPD will not fairly investigate," the statement read. "Instead, it is from the knowledge that his parade of anonymous allegations could not survive the rigorous inquiry of trained investigators or the need to attest to the truth of the allegations under oath.
"For our part, we will continue to learn about the cases in any way that we can. We and Deshaun will always remain available to any law enforcement or regulatory agency who desires our cooperation."
Buzbee released a statement on Instagram this week saying he worried his past run for Mayor of Houston would cloud police judgment in the case. He also stated that Hardin's son having a position in the Houston Police Department caused him concern.
Twenty-one lawsuits have been filed against Watson in the past month accusing him of sexual misconduct or sexual assault. The women, all of whom are or were massage therapists, have retained Buzbee as their attorney.
One suit accused Watson of being a "serial predator," while another said he was deleting Instagram messages. Hardin said Watson has not deleted any messages sent from his Instagram account since the day before the first lawsuit was filed. Hardin also released statements from 18 massage therapists who worked with the Pro Bowler in the past, all of whom said he acted in a professional manner.
Watson has denied all allegations of impropriety but has not made a public comment since March 16.
A massage therapist who is not suing Watson provided an account of what happened after Watson contacted her to arrange a massage to Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated this week. The allegations include Watson “thrusting the air" with his pelvis while being massaged and removing a towel covering his penis during the massage. He also said to have suggested the woman touch his penis during the message.
The Sports Illustrated article follows a similar pattern to the one described in some of the lawsuits, in which Watson allegedly coerced or used his influence to force women into unwanted sexual acts.