The defense for Deshaun Watson is striking back against the numerous claims alleging sexual assault and harassment in civil litigation by claiming that the Houston Texans quarterback has been blackmailed.
“I asked her what she would be silent about and whether anything had happened with Deshaun against her will,” said Watson assistant Bryan Burney in a sworn affidavit released by the QB's attorney, Rusty Hardin. “She confirmed that everything that occurred was consensual during her encounter with Deshaun. I asked Ms. (Jane) Doe why Deshaun should pay for silence regarding something that was consensual — whatever it was. She said that it was a matter that both she and Deshaun would wish to keep secret and that she would need to be paid for her 'silence.'”
The affidavit says that “Jane Doe,'' one of the plaintiffs involved in the 14 civil lawsuits filed by attorney Tony Buzbee, stated that she wanted $30,000 for her "silence'' regarding an alleged Dec. 28, 2020 encounter with Watson.
The civil suit claims Watson "coerced and intimidated" her into performing oral sex on him. A week ago, Watson claimed he'd done nothing wrong, and
“I want to emphasize at the outset that we and Deshaun recognize that sexual assault and harassment are not only unlawful, but morally wrong,” Hardin said in a statement (courtesy the Houston Chronicle). “It takes courage for women to come forward to report being mistreated, particularly when they attach their names to a lawsuit. We do not take these allegations lightly. However, fairness to the accused is equally as important.
Continued Hardin: "Opposing counsel has orchestrated a circus-like atmosphere by using social media to publicize 14 “Jane Doe” lawsuits during the past seven days in a manner calculated to inflame the public and malign Deshaun’s otherwise sterling reputation. In addition, the tactic of refusing our requests to confidentially provide the names of the plaintiffs so we can fully investigate their claims makes uncovering the truth extremely difficult. Anonymity is often necessary as a shield for victims but opposing counsel has used it as a sword to publicly humiliate Deshaun before the truth seeking process can even begin.
"I believe,'' Hardin wrote, "that any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false. And in the one case in which we have been able to identify a plaintiff, we have strong evidence showing the allegation is false.
The attorney for Watson, the star player who has requested a trade from Houston, added, that the one case "calls into question the legitimacy of the other cases as well."