CLEVELAND (WJW) – A Houston police detective has testified FBI officials told her they were investigating Deshaun Watson and one of the 24 women who have filed lawsuits against the quarterback.
Houston Police Detective Kamesha Baker made the statement during a deposition taken earlier this month in Houston. Baker, who investigated 10 criminal complaints made against Watson, revealed during the deposition that she had communicated with the FBI.
“Did they ever tell you they were investigating any of the women who were making complaints?” asked Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 24 women suing Watson.
The detective responded, “They later just told us that they were.”
She added she was told it was “something about extortion.”
When asked if the FBI was investigating Watson as well, she said yes.
Buzbee asked if the detective knew what happened with the FBI investigation and she said no.
The I-Team reached out to the FBI in Houston and were told the agency cannot confirm or deny an existence of an investigation.
The I-Team received a copy of the Baker’s deposition Thursday. The I-Team also received a video clip of part of Watson’s marketing manager’s deposition, which states he was questioned by FBI agents.
Bryan Burney stated in the deposition that the FBI talked to him about one of the accusers who asked for money from Watson before she filed a lawsuit.
“It was specifically in regard of extortion of Deshaun, not anything outside of that,” Burney said in his deposition.
Watson is not facing criminal charges. Two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him on any criminal charges.
Baker, however, who investigated the cases, stated she felt Watson should have been charged.
“Did you believe a crime had occurred with regard to all 10 of the complainants?” Buzbee asked Baker.
Her response was, “yes.”
She was then asked if she filed any charges in the case.
“No,” Baker said. “We didn’t charge anyone because I didn’t – I don’t get to make the charge. I present to the district attorney’s office what I think and tell them my reasoning, and then they tell me yes or no, we can charge. Or take directly to grand jury which was done in this case. I don’t know what at the grand jury happened.”
Attorney Rusty Hardin, the lead attorney representing Watson, said he was “dumbfounded” by part of Baker’s testimony where she said the “defendant has to prove his innocence.”
“In another part she said, volunteered on her own, that when power and influence are in the room, consent cannot be,” Hardin said. “I can just tell you that if there is a jury trial in this case, the public will be horrified to realize Deshaun Watson was never going to get a fair hearing from that police officer.”
He noted that the detective also stated she closed her investigation in September, before any of the accusers were deposed.
Buzbee, however, says the detective stated under oath “over and over“ that she felt the quarterback committed “more than 10 sexual crimes.”
“She said, her words, she believed based on her knowledge, skill, training and experience that Deshaun Watson committed 10 crimes,” Buzbee told the I-Team.
Buzbee has also stated more lawsuits could be filed against Watson soon.
Watson spoke to the media Tuesday saying again he wants to clear his name.
“I’ve been honest and I’ve been truthful about my stance,” Watson said. “I’ve never forced anyone. I’ve never assaulted anyone.”
Attorneys on both sides are continuing to take depositions in the case. Both Buzbee and Hardin said they don’t expect any of the cases to go to trial before next year.
The NFL is also investigating Watson. NFL investigators met with Watson in May and earlier this month. Investigators are trying to determine if the 26-year-old violated the league’s personal conduct policy. If they determine he did violate the policy, he could face discipline, including a suspension and fines.
Hardin said he expects the NFL to make a decision sometime at the end of June or early July.