CLEVELAND – The FOX 8 I-Team has found the first woman to file a lawsuit against Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is one who hasn’t settled with him, so we reviewed video from four and a half hours of her court deposition.
The video shows Ashley Solis emotional, defiant and also forced to admit she was not threatened.
A total of 24 women filed lawsuits against Watson after giving him massages.. All claimed sexual misconduct by him.
This week, the lawyer for all of the women announced 20 had reached confidential settlements, but Solis is still pushing her case.
Solis filed a lawsuit against Watson in March 2021 alleging sexual misconduct by him while she gave him a massage. She has said the massage ended with her in tears and with Watson later sending her an apology text.
Yet, Watson has maintained his innocence. He says he did not do anything wrong. In fact, in two news conferences, he has repeatedly said he never “disrespected” any woman.
In the deposition, Solis testified, “I don’t know how you wouldn’t know you did something wrong when you placed your (****) on somebody’s hand without consent.”
“That was the first time that he physically touched me without consent. That’s when I put a stop to it,” she added. “My heart felt really heavy like I was being stabbed.”
Meanwhile, in that court deposition, Watson’s lawyer also challenged Solis.
Rusty Hardin asked, “You never said to him anything about being offended, did you?”
Solis answered, “No, not those words.”
Hardin asked, “He never used any kind of force on you, did he?”
Solis replied, “No.”
Hardin asked, “Would you agree that you did not go to the police to report what happened to you until after you filed your lawsuit?”
To that, Solis said, “Yes.”
A total of 10 women went to the police and filed criminal complaints. As the I-Team has reported before, two grand juries considered the cases, but no charges were filed.
While many of these civil lawsuits have been settled, the court video also reveals Solis demanded $100,000 from Watson before filing suit, looking to reach a confidential settlement without going to court.
Watson’s lawyer also drilled down on that, asking, “Since you did not settle, that’s what made you decide to go public?”
Solis responded with, “Yes.”
The claims against Watson have exploded into constant national headlines.
As he deals with the lawsuits, Watson also is waiting to hear what kind of punishment he could face from the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Tony Buzbee, the lawyer for all of the women, has called Solis heroic for coming forward first.
She calls pursuing her lawsuit a way of taking her power back.
“My ability to be comfortable in my own skin, in my own home, in my own practice,” she testified.