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Report: At Least 2 Deshaun Watson Plaintiffs Agree to Meet with NFL Investigator

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) in action during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

At least two women who filed civil lawsuits against Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson have agreed to meet with NFL investigator Lisa Friel, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who's representing 22 women suing Watson, confirmed to Berman that two plaintiffs will speak with Friel via Zoom.

ESPN detailed the sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Watson, writing the women "accuse him of a range of actions during massage appointments over the past year, from refusing to cover his genitals to forced oral sex."

Rusty Hardin, Watson's lawyer, filed Watson's initial response to the lawsuits in court Monday. The filing accuses the plaintiffs of lying and bragging about extorting Watson.

"Today we answered the lawsuits filed against our client Deshaun Watson," Hardin said of the filing, per Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio. "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."

Hardin also said he and his team have found "an avalanche of false accusations" after two judges ruled 13 of the women had to disclose their names after having previously been identified as Jane Doe. Twenty-one of the 22 cases were amended to include the plaintiff's names. One woman withdrew her suit over privacy and safety concerns, and a 23rd woman filed a lawsuit Wednesday with similar allegations.

Ashley Solis was the first to go public with her allegations.

"People say that I'm doing this just for money. That is false," she said during an April 6 news conference. "I come forward now so that Deshaun Watson does not assault another woman."

Solis added that she has continued to experience panic attacks, anxiety and depression stemming from her encounter with Watson.

The Houston Police Department announced April 2 it was investigating a complaint filed against Watson but didn't describe the nature of the complaint. Berman reported "additional women involved in the lawsuits" have agreed to meet with police.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed April 6 the league was looking into the matter and called the allegations "deeply disturbing." Florio noted getting the cooperation of the two women could be a big step because the NFL can't compel anybody not employed by the league to participate in an investigation.