Editor’s Note: The video above is previous coverage on this story. Also, some of the details may not be appropriate for all readers.
CLEVELAND (WJW) – While NFL officials say they are close to finishing the investigation into Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, the attorney representing 22 women who allege sexual misconduct says he has not heard back from NFL investigators.
“We haven’t heard from the NFL and don’t expect to,” Attorney Tony Buzbee told the FOX 8 I-Team. Buzbee has said NFL investigators previously met with some of the accusers. He also said he believed the investigation by the league was “bogus.”
Watson met with NFL investigators for three days earlier this month. His attorney, Rusty Hardin, says the NFL wants to meet with Watson again, but a new date has not been set. Hardin said the NFL wants to finish the investigation sometime this summer.
22 women are suing Deshaun Watson, accusing him of sexual misconduct as they gave him massages.
Tony Buzbee and Watson’s attorneys also say there are no ongoing settlement talks.
There have been settlement talks in the past, with offers to settle ranging from $45,000 to $100,000.
The I-team uncovered details about a push for a settlement even before the first lawsuit was filed.
The I-Team obtained a Jan. 8, 2021, settlement demand letter sent to Watson from the Buzbee law firm. The letter was an attempt to settle the case of accuser Ashley Solis before she filed suit. Solis was the first woman to file a lawsuit. According to emails attached to the letter, Solis wanted $100,000 to settle Watson’s side refused, saying he did nothing wrong.
The I-Team obtained the video deposition of Solis. During the deposition, she was asked about the $100,000 amount to settle.
“How did you arrive at a hundred thousand for your original demand,” Hardin asked during the deposition.
“That was suggested to me,” Solis responded. When asked if that amount was suggested to her by her lawyers, she responded, “Correct.”
Solis also maintained she went to another attorney before going to the Buzbee law firm, but that attorney said he was unable to help her and referred her to someone else. Solis maintained in her deposition that Watson came to her home for a massage. She said he insisted on being naked and only using a towel be brought to cover him.
“I instructed him to move his penis to the right side,” Solis said during the deposition. “He grabbed it, pulled it from under the towel and put it on my hand. I immediately moved my hands and I started crying. I told him that I’m ending the session because I’m uncomfortable. I would like him to get dressed and I am leaving the room.”
She also said Watson paid her $200 for the massage even though she told him she did not want his money. She said the cost of the massage was $80. She further stated that he texted her after he left, apologizing if he made her uncomfortable.
The I-Team also obtained the transcript of Watson’s deposition on the Solis case which was taken May 13. He gives a different account.
“Okay. Well, I’ll go back to my answer; and the things that she said that I was doing was very wrong,” Watson said during his deposition.
“I never assaulted Ms. Solis. I never harassed Ms. Solis. I never touched Ms. Solis. She never seen any of my private parts. I didn’t do anything to her. I didn’t have any intentions to have sexual activity with Ms. Solis, anything. I came to get a massage session.”
He also denied that she cried during the massage session. He said after the massage session she came back in the room and had “watery eyes.” He also stated that he asked her what was wrong, and she said she was uncomfortable. He said he didn’t know why she was uncomfortable.
Solis also stated in her deposition that she filed a report with the police and spoke to the district attorney about the case. A total of 10 women who filed lawsuits also filed criminal reports.
Two grand juries in Texas heard the criminal complaints. Both grand juries declined to indict Watson on any criminal charges.
The lawsuits filed by Solis and the other 21 women are still pending in Harris County District Court. The cases are not expected to start going to trial until next spring.