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Plaintiff’s Attorney Explains Why Lawsuit Was Filed Against Watson

Editors’ note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at

Deshaun Watson’s legal issues continue as the Browns quarterback faces a new lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct.

But unlike the other 25 total cases (one other active lawsuit) that Houston-based lawyer Tony Buzbee’s law firm represented, the latest petition was filed with a different law firm. The plaintiff’s attorney, Anissah Nguyen, explained why her client chose to file and what kind of justice she is seeking in an interview with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap.

“She seeks to self-heal through the lawsuit,” Nguyen said. “By going through the legal process, sharing her story, she’s unpacking those painful memories that will help her to heal. But, she ultimately seeks an acknowledgement. An acknowledgement from Mr. Watson. That he knows that what he did was wrong, not only to her but to all the other women. And to be accountable for what he has done to them and all that he’s taken away from them.”

Although Watson issued a public apology, he has continued to deny any wrongdoing. He said in August after receiving an 11-game suspension, “I’ve always stood on my innocence and always said that I’ve never assaulted anyone or disrespected anyone and I will continue to stand on that. But at the same time, I have to continue to push forward with my life and my career and, for us to be able to move forward, I have to be able to take steps and put pride to the side. I’m going to continue to stand on my innocence and keep pushing forward and I’ve always stood on not disrespecting or sexually assaulting anyone.”

Since March 2021, more than two dozen lawsuits have been filed against Watson, describing graphic accounts of sexual harassment and assault. Only one case was dropped due to privacy concerns in April ’21, and Watson agreed to settle 20 of the 24 remaining active lawsuits in late June ’22. He proceeded to settle three of the remaining four

Now, Watson faces two active lawsuits out of the 26 total. 

The latest one, filed by a Jane Doe on Thursday, states the quarterback “attempted to solicit sexually related acts with Plaintiff including intercourse.” She is a licensed massage therapist. 

The massage occurred at The Houstonian in Texas. During the massage, the filing states that “Watson removed his towel and offered to let her ‘get on top.’ Plaintiff refused to have sex with Watson, however, he was able to pressure her into oral sex with the Defendant.” 

Watson returned Monday to Cleveland’s facility for the first time since his suspension began Aug. 30. He’s ineligible to practice with the team until Nov. 14 and is expected to return from his suspension Dec. 4 against his former team, the Texans. 

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