On Tuesday, attorney Rusty Hardin issued a statement on behalf of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson regarding the various claims of assault made against him. On Tuesday night, lawyer Tony Buzbee, who has filed 16 cases and counting against Watson, responded in a Facebook post.
“Alleged sexual misconduct is serious,” Buzbee said. “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.
“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.”
Buzbee and Hardin are now fully engaged in an effort to sway public opinion for (in Hardin’s case) or against (in Buzbee’s case) Watson’s position. While irrelevant to the manner in which these cases will play out in court, the public statements necessarily shed light on the broader strategies that the lawyers will employ.