Attorney Tony Buzbee recently has said that no settlement is happening regarding his 22 clients and Rusty Hardin, the attorney who represents Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Hardin has responded, in a statement released to reporters on Thursday.
“In a recent interview, Mr. Buzbee stated that ‘a settlement is not happening,” Hardin said. “We certainly agree that there are currently no settlement negotiations being conducted. While we have never approached Mr. Buzbee about a settlement, he has approached us on numerous occasions in the past about the possibility of a settlement. We have made clear all along that there would be no settlement unless the terms are made public and all participants are allowed to speak in their own defense at all times. We want none of the participants — the plaintiffs or Mr. Watson — muzzled by a settlement agreement. Mr. Buzbee does not feel the same.”
In other words, Hardin contends that the negotiations have included a request from Buzbee that the terms be kept confidential, and that Watson and Hardin insist on the terms being made public. This turns the typical process on its head; usually, the defendant wants (and pays for) confidentiality.
Hardin’s claim also implies that the amounts discussed during settlement talks were sufficiently low that Watson would be vindicated if they became public. That perhaps explains why Buzbee would be pushing for confidentiality, if he indeed is.
“I am a little bemused by Mr. Buzbee pronouncing piously that his clients are not going to settle and that they want their cases to play out in court,” Hardin added. “The fact that this whole thing started with his attempt to extort money and avoid court shows that irony is not dead. I guess it has just been raised to a new level.”
After nearly three weeks of quiet in the case, the public discourse could be heading to a new level.