Thursday's status hearing concerning the 22 civil lawsuits filed against Deshaun Watson centered largely around whether or not the opposing sides were hiding information or destroying evidence.
Watson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, requested the social security and driver's license numbers for four of the women who filed lawsuits against his client during a status hearing Thursday.
Even with all plaintiffs being named in the filings, Hardin said his law firm still does not know who four of the women are due to several of them having the same name.
The judge is expected to rule on the motion by the end of Thursday.
According to the motion filed by Hardin, "when the plaintiffs amended their petitions they failed to provide their known residential addresses, the last three digits of their social security numbers, and the last three digits of their driver's license numbers, which are also required by law."
The filing also states that "Mr. Watson further requests that the plaintiffs be ordered to replead within one business day, and that if any plaintiffs fail to do so, their entire petition be stricken and all claims dismissed with prejudice."
Meanwhile, Tony Buzbee, who represents the plaintiffs, is in pursuit of the Texans quarterback's phone. The attorney is alleging that Watson “unsent” or deleted messages on Instagram. This comes after Hardin previously accused the plaintiffs of altering or deleting messages on social media.
All of the messages are considered evidence in the lawsuits to show whether or not Watson engaged in sexual misconduct.
“Once we get those phones, whether you deleted something or not, Deshaun Watson, we’re going to know everything you’ve ever written and ever said and ever sent,” Buzbee said during a court conference Thursday in Houston. “And the same is true on our side.”
Buzbee said that he sent a letter to Watson's legal team after Hardin's claim, requesting that they preserve both of the star's phones “that I know he owns.”
“And I know that after I sent that letter, Deshaun Watson unsent … his Instagram messages to many of my clients.”
Hardin, however, released a statement later that contradicted Buzbee's claims.
“Deshaun regularly deletes past Instagram messages. That said, he has not deleted any messages since March 15th, the day before the first lawsuit was filed.”
Judge Rabeea Sultan Collier decided not to take further action on the matter after hearing both sides.
“I have full confidence the lawyers understand there are severe penalties in destroying or altering evidence,” she said in Harris County, Texas. “And it sounds as if both sides have sent over preservation of evidence notices to the other side.”
Watson faces 22 civil lawsuits with allegations ranging from refusing to cover his genitals during massages to forcing women to give him oral sex. Additionally, Houston Police Department told Defector's Kalyn Kahler on April 15 that they are not releasing any information except that there are two active criminal investigations pertaining "to an incident of a sexual assault."
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