Deshaun Watson's new 'full-time job' in Ohio creates conflict with court cases in Houston
The legal trouble that Deshaun Watson is facing in Houston already is threatening to get in the way of his new job in Cleveland.
Lawyers for the 22 women who are suing Watson last week filed a notice of their intention to take his pretrial deposition testimony on five different days in early May at the Houston office of Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin. But Hardin is fighting it, noting that the NFL quarterback recently changed jobs after being traded by the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns.
“Mr. Watson recently moved out of state and currently lives in Ohio,” said a document submitted by Hardin’s firm in court Friday. “He also has a full-time job that requires his presence in Ohio Monday through Friday. As a result, Mr. Watson is not available for depositions in Texas on the dates unilaterally noticed by Plaintiffs. Counsel for Mr. Watson offered multiple dates for Mr. Watson’s deposition that were rejected by Plaintiffs’ counsel.”
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Hardin has filed a motion to quash those depositions, leading to a court hearing set for next week in Houston, where Judge Rabeea Collier could decide the matter.
The 22 women have accused Watson of sexual misconduct during massages sessions from early 2020 to March 2021 often after he contacted them for the first time on Instagram. They say he exposed himself to them, caused his genitals to touch them and in some cases coerced them into oral sex. Watson, 26, has denied wrongdoing. Hardin said they are lying, out for money and that there were “sometimes consensual encounters.”
The women’s attorneys, led by Tony Buzbee, had set those deposition dates in May on behalf of 10 of the 22 women. In Watson’s defense, Hardin pointed out that two of those women have not sat for depositions themselves to assert their allegations under oath.
“As this Court has already ruled, Mr. Watson is not — and should not be — required to respond in a deposition to allegations that have not yet been asserted under oath,” Hardin’s motion stated. “Stated differently, until (the two women) appear for deposition, Mr. Watson should not be required to respond to the allegations drafted by the lawyers for which these Plaintiffs have not verified or confirmed under oath. Mr. Watson’s counsel is currently working in good faith to identify and provide alternative dates for Mr. Watson’s deposition.”
Watson has sat for some depositions already, but the battle for pretrial discovery evidence recently has intensified. Under an agreement between the two parties, most or all of these cases might not go to trial until after February 2023 unless he settles them out of court. Two grand juries declined to indict him on criminal charges in 10 cases that were reported to police.
Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org