Attorney Tony Buzbee has said that he intends to provide evidence regarding his clients’ claims of sexual assault against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Houston Police Department. He hasn’t. In a social-media post made on Tuesday night, Buzbee explains the decision not to do so.
“Our team has been roundly criticized because these numerous brave women haven’t filed formal criminal complaints with HPD (although we have provided info to other organizations),” Buzbee said on Instagram. “Here is my worry. When I ran for Houston mayor against the CURRENT mayor, I called for the resignation of the former police chief. I was thus reluctant initially in these important cases to provide info to HPD, at least while Art Acevedo was the Police Chief — even though my brother-in-law is a long-term HPD officer. Mr. Acevedo has now left Houston for Miami. Yet, I’ve since learned that my legal opponent, Mr. Hardin, has a son who is on of the exclusive Command Staff of HPD. I am not saying in any way that Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, Mr. Hardin, has a son who has a position that would compromise HPD and its investigation. I support his service, along with all Houston police officers — I think the rank and file know that. But, I am saying that me and my clients will go elsewhere to provide our evidence to investigative authorities. Stand by.”
This is the first that Buzbee has said regarding any hesitation he has when it comes to providing information to the Houston Police Department. It also seems odd to think that the authorities would disregard or overlook claims made by 19 different women based on factors other than whether the authorities believe, based on the evidence provided, that a crime has been committed. Buzbee isn’t one of the victims; he’s their lawyer. The notion that the Houston Police Department would take a dim view of his clients’ efforts to seek justice simply because of the identity of their lawyer takes cynicism to new heights. (It also suggests that the best interests of these women arguably would be better served by hiring different counsel.)
Buzbee prefaced his comments regarding his concerns about the Houston Police Department with the following message to the media generally: “This is our legal team’s response to the hundreds of requests we have received at our Houston office for comment; even though we have an extensive staff, your inquiries are overwhelming! We will continue to conform our conduct to the ethical rules for lawyers in Texas. We take our obligations very seriously. We will say this once, and encourage those inquiring to pay attention to our public filings, rather than lawyer statements in the media. These Deshaun Watson cases continue to mount; we filed two more public cases today.”
Deshaun Watson has denied any wrongdoing, and the cases (barring a settlement) will be processed through the court system and, eventually, taken to trial.