On Tuesday morning, Deshaun Watson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, issued a lengthy, bold statement on behalf of his client regarding claims of sexual assault made against the NFL star.
In a statement, Hardin said that one of the accusers...
"...attempted to blackmail Deshaun by demanding $30,000 in exchange for her 'indefinite silence' about what she stated was a consensual encounter."
Hardin also stated that the woman's actions...
"calls into question the legitimacy of the other cases as well."
Later in the evening, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Tony Buzbee, who has filed 16 cases against Watson so far, took to Facebook to issue a strong response to Hardin, writing:
“Alleged sexual misconduct is serious. Attempting to criminalize or minimize those that speak out or step forward is wrong. I have been asked to respond to a released statement by Mr. Watson’s counsel. My first reaction is that there have been so many massage sessions from Instagram that Mr. Watson can’t keep track of them — recall he, on Twitter, initially criticized me and denied everything. I can’t tell you how many people have stepped forward to report similar conduct or provide information. That info will be released, again in public filings — not in the media."
Buzbee further stated:
"My second reaction is a question: why would his marketing agent admit Watson had sex for pay with a massage therapist, consensual or otherwise? We will also provide a copy of the non-disclosure agreement that Deshaun Watson and his marketing manager repeatedly insisted that Jane Doe (and others) sign after (and sometimes before) the ‘massage session,’ which she refused to sign. I do appreciate Mr. Hardin’s professionalism and his words of support for victims, but would respectfully suggest there are many facts here, that we will put in public filings, that Mr. Hardin might not be aware of. We will provide additional details in a statement, consistent with our ethical obligations in due course. I’m hoping we can do so by Friday.”
Hardin and Buzbee now appear to be caught up in a media-battle, with both men attempting to steer public opinion either for or against the accused, Deshaun Watson, before the star's now-seemingly inevitable appearance in a court of law.
Buckle up, Texans fans. Looking at the current situation, it doesn't look like there is going to be a speedy resolution for the Houston quarterback any time soon.