CLEVELAND – The FOX 8 I-Team is asking what’s next with the legal issues for new Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.
This week, the Browns introduced Watson after he was cleared of criminal charges a second time. Grand juries in both Harris and Brazoria counties in Texas declined to indict Watson on criminal charges.
Watson stressed during a media event Friday that he was not guilty of the allegations made against him by 22 women.
“I never assaulted, I never disrespected, I never harassed any woman in my life,” Watson said.
He still faces 22 separate lawsuits by the women. The women are accusing him of sexual misconduct.
The I-Team asked him specifically to tell us what happened and if he is saying the women made up the allegations.
“I can’t speak on that because there’s an ongoing investigation,” Watson said. “But in the future, once everything is resolved, I could sit down and I would love to talk about it.”
Cleveland attorney Tom Merriman said issues in the civil court may take longer to be resolved. The cases were filed in 2021.
“You have a different standard of proof in civil cases” Merriman said. “It’s a lower standard of proof. It’s a preponderance. Think of it as 50.1% versus 49.9%.”
Houston based attorney Tony Buzbee is representing all 22 women. He told us last week more cases could be filed.
“He can’t deny these massage session occurred because we have proof of it,” Buzbee said. “ We have proof of the payment, we have proof of the messages setting it up so the only thing he can do is deny that anything happened in the sessions.”
Attorneys representing Watson told us their client denies doing anything wrong.
Merriman added it is not uncommon for one attorney to be representing the women. He noted often times in civil cases one attorney will represent a large number of clients.
He also added it could take months and possibly more than a year for all the cases to be heard.
It is not known when any of the civil cases will go to trial.
Watson told us he is not planning to settle the cases.
“That’s not my intent,” Watson said. “My intent is to clear my name as much as possible.”