Deshaun Watson's attorneys on Thursday requested to the court that opposing counsel by required to disclose the names of the women accusing him the Houston Texans quarterback of sexual assault and harassment.
Defense attorney Rusty Hardin's filing blasts the women’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, for conducting a “trial by press conference” in a way that he asserts makes it difficult for the defense to respond to the 22 mostly anonymous accusations against him.
Watson and Hardin have both claimed the football star is innocent of any wrongdoing.
“Through the spectacle of the last few weeks,'' Hardin writes in the filing, "Mr. Watson has been unable to responsibly defend himself in the face of overwhelming national media coverage.''
That media coverage - and the court of public opinion - is among the reasons at least four major corporate sponsors of Watson have either severed or altered their relationships.
The defense is aware of the identity of two of the accusers, massage therapists who claim they were "terrorized'' by Watson. One of those women made a request through Buzbee for a $100,000 settlement before filing. The accusers are all officially listed as “Jane Doe” in court documents.
Before this tumult, the Pro Bowler Watson had requested a trade from the Texans - a transaction likely made more difficult because of the legal proceedings - and the aforementioned court of public opinion.
“Mr. Buzbee is wielding Plaintiff’s anonymity,'' Hardin writes, "as a sword instead of a shield.''