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#pounditTuesday, October 19, 2021

Legal Matters

Deshaun Watson admits to having consensual sexual encounters with some accusers

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson has maintained his innocence despite 22 different women accusing him of sexual assault, but the Houston Texans star has now admitted that his relationship with some of the massage therapists was not exactly professional.

Watson’s legal team held a press conference on Friday afternoon in which they enthusiastically defended the quarterback’s character. Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lead defense attorney, said there were times when Watson had “consensual encounters” with some of the alleged victims.

“We deeply, deeply do not believe this guy ever did anything nonconsensual with any woman during any of this,” Hardin said. “He didn’t coerce them. We don’t believe he used his position. We don’t believe he intimidated them. We simply do not. Were there sometimes consensual encounters? Yes.”

Some have questioned why Watson needed so many different massage therapists, and Hardin also addressed that. He attributed it to spas being shut down during the pandemic and Watson searching for therapists via direct messages because “millennials live on Instagram.”

The identities of at least a dozen women who have accused Watson of sexual assault will soon be revealed. Nine of the alleged victims have volunteered to publicly reveal their identities, and several others will have to due to a court ruling on Friday.

One of the alleged victims, Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement this week in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see that video here.

Watson’s defense is that he had consensual sexual encounters with some massage therapists and that all of the 22 women are lying in some form. Hardin previously claimed that Watson was the victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the case.

Several more of Deshaun Watson’s alleged victims will reveal their identities

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s attorney has filed a motion seeking to force several of the women who have accused the quarterback of sexual assault to reveal their identities, but no court ruling will be necessary for several of them.

Tony Buzbee, the lawyer who represents the 22 women who have filed sexual assault lawsuits against Watson, said Friday that nine more of the alleged victims have chosen to voluntarily reveal their identities.

One of the nine women is Ashley Solis, who delivered a powerful statement this week in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see the video here.

A hearing was held on Friday regarding 12 of the women who have filed lawsuits against Watson. A judge ruled that all 12 must refile their lawsuits and attach their names to them, according to Aaron Reiss of The Athletic. That means the three women who did not volunteer to publicly reveal their identities must now do so as well.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, maintained that the quarterback is innocent in a statement issued on Thursday. He accused Tony Buzbee of using “anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson.” Hardin has been saying for weeks that Buzbee should have to provide the names of the accusers so Watson can defend himself properly.

All of the lawsuits against Watson to this point have been civil in nature, but Houston police said last week that one criminal complaint has been filed.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Deshaun Watson’s legal team wins important ruling in sexual assault scandal

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson’s attorney filed a motion earlier this week seeking to force the quarterback’s alleged sexual assault victims to reveal their identities. A judge ruled in Watson’s favor in one of the cases on Friday morning.

Harris County Judge Dedra Davis ruled at an emergency hearing that one of the 22 plaintiffs who is suing Watson for sexual assault must identify herself by refiling her lawsuit with her name attached, according to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop. The alleged victim had previously been referred to as Jane Doe in her lawsuit.

A similar hearing regarding at least 12 of the other plaintiffs will be held later on Friday.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, maintained that the quarterback is innocent in a statement issued on Thursday. Hardin also accused Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the alleged victims, of using “anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson.” Hardin has been saying for weeks that Buzbee should have to provide the names of the accusers so Watson can defend himself properly.

Watson has been sued by 22 women who say he sexually harassed and assaulted them while they were giving him massages. Two of the alleged victims publicly revealed their identities on Tuesday. One of the women, massage therapist Ashley Solis, delivered a powerful statement in which she spoke about how Watson’s alleged misconduct has negatively impacted her career and life. You can see the video here.

Ravens CB Davontae Harris thinks all 22 Deshaun Watson accusers are lying

Deshaun Watson

Davontae Harris on Wednesday expressed his doubts about the allegations Deshaun Watson is facing.

The Baltimore Ravens cornerback tweeted that the allegations Watson is facing are getting “questionable.” He also shared his belief that the women aren’t telling the truth. Harris said these 22 women are making it harder for — in his words — actual victims — to come forward.

22 women have filed lawsuits against Watson, alleging he sexually assaulted them. The cases follow a similar pattern of Watson reaching out to women to arrange massages and then allegedly acting inappropriately while with them.

Watson’s defense team shared statements from 18 women who backed the Houston Texans quarterback. The numbers indicate that Watson sought and/or received massages from at least 40 women over the last year or so.

Houston police are investigating at least one criminal complaint against Watson. All the other lawsuits are civil cases, where the burden of proof is lower. A woman came out publicly this week and attached her name to her accusation against Watson.

Ashley Solis is first woman to publicly accuse Deshaun Watson of sexual assault

Ashley Solis

Deshaun Watson has been sued for sexual harassment by 22 different women, and one of the alleged victims went public on Tuesday.

In a press conference arranged by attorney Tony Buzbee, a massage therapist named Ashley Solis said she was sexually assaulted by Watson on March 30, 2020. She said she has suffered from “panic attacks, anxiety and depression” as a result of the Houston Texans star’s actions. Solis also claimed she is unable to perform massages without trembling and that she has had to cut sessions short.

You can see a portion of Solis’ statement below. She paused several times to collect herself while speaking.

Another woman, Lauren Baxley, also revealed her identity via a letter that was read at the press conference.

The two latest lawsuits were filed against Watson a week ago, bringing the total to 22 alleged victims. Watson’s legal team responded by sharing statements from 18 massage therapists who say they have worked with Watson and defended the quarterback. You can read all of those statements here.

All of the lawsuits against Watson to this point have been civil in nature, but Houston police said on Friday that one criminal complaint has been filed.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Houston Police investigating Deshaun Watson after first criminal complaint filed

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson is facing 21 lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault. Now, for the first time, one complaint against him has been filed with the Houston Police Department.

HPD issued a statement on Friday saying that they are investigating a complaint about Watson that they received.

“Today, a complainant filed a report with the Houston Police Department concerning Deshaun Watson. As with any allegation, the Houston Police Department is now conducting an investigation and will not comment further during the investigative process,” the statement said.

Some of Watson’s supporters believed the lack of criminal complaints was a weakness in the case of the accusers. Now Watson could end up facing criminal charges rather than civil ones.

“We welcome this long overdue development. Now we will learn the identity of at least one accuser. We will fully cooperate with the Houston Police Department,” Watson’s attorney said in response in a statement sent to Larry Brown Sports.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Deshaun Watson accused of sexual assault by two more women

Deshaun Watson

The sexual assault lawsuits against Deshaun Watson continue to pile up, as the Houston Texans quarterback is now facing formal allegations from two more women.

Two more sexual assault lawsuits were filed against Watson on Tuesday night, bringing the total to 21. One of the suits states that Watson has “unsent” messages on Instagram that he had previously sent to masseuses. That is consistent with a lawsuit that was filed on Sunday, which claimed Watson has been deleting old Instagram messages and trying to reach settlements with some of his alleged victims.

One of the new suits accuses Watson of making “obscene sexual gestures” while receiving massages, according to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop. The other says the NFL star “purposely” exposed himself to a massage therapist, touched her with his penis, groped her, coerced her to perform oral sex on him and ejaculated on her.

The allegations in the new lawsuits are similar to the ones we have seen in the previous 19.

In a statement on Monday night, Watson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin said Watson has deleted old Instagram messages “like a lot of people” but claimed the quarterback has not deleted any since March 15th, which is the day before the first lawsuit was filed. Hardin also denied that Watson has reached out to any accusers in an attempt to settle.

One woman who is not suing Watson also came forward and made extremely troubling allegations this week.

Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. The 25-year-old’s legal team also claims he was a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Vanessa Bryant trying to dismiss her mother Sofia’s lifetime support lawsuit

Vanessa Bryant

Vanessa Bryant is trying to get a lawsuit her mother Sofia Laine (nee Urbieta) filed against her dismissed.

Sofia Laine filed a lawsuit against the Bryants last year in which she contends she was promised lifetime financial support by late NBA icon Kobe Bryant (details here).

“Kobe Bryant repeatedly promised to take care of plaintiff financially for life in exchange for her services as a nanny and caretaker for the Bryants’ children,” the lawsuit said.

Vanessa Bryant’s legal team filed a 43-page motion in Orange County Superior Court to have the case dismissed. In the motion, they tried to use Sofia’s own past arguments as evidence to get the case dismissed.

In 2004, Sofia had a spousal support case with her ex-husband, Stephen Laine. Sofia argued then that she needed the spousal support because she was not receiving financial support from Vanessa and Kobe. In 2008, Stephen sought to have his payments lowered during the recession. Again, Sofia argued she was not receiving support from Vanessa and Kobe. Her argument worked, and the spousal support was not adjusted.

It’s been well over 10 years since then, so a lot could have changed. But it’s pretty rich that Sofia’s own past arguments to win financial battles in court are now being used against her for the same type of case. Keep in mind that Vanessa explicitly said she and Kobe financially supported Sophia for 20 years.

The drama between Vanessa and Sophia has been ongoing over the last year. Vanessa issued this scathing response to an interview her mom conducted last year.

Latest Deshaun Watson lawsuit claims QB is trying to reach settlements

Deshaun Watson

Three new civil lawsuits have been filed against Deshaun Watson, which means 19 women have now formally accused the Houston Texans quarterback of sexual assault. While Watson and his representatives have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, Watson may be trying to make some of the cases go away.

ESPN’s Sarah Barshop reviewed the latest suits that were filed, and one of them accuses Watson of trying to cover his tracks and work out settlements with his alleged victims. The lawsuit claims Watson has been deleting old Instagram messages and has reached out to women who have provided him massages in an attempt to reach settlements.

The allegations in the newest civil suits continue with the theme of Watson allegedly engaging in inappropriate behavior during massages. One woman says she gave Watson at least three massages and that he intentionally touched her with his penis, according to Samantha Ketterer of the Houston Chronicle. Another woman, a massage therapy student, says she gave Watson two massages at her mother’s house and that he purposely touched her with his penis and ejaculated on her.

One of the women says Watson texted her before the massage and said, “I even have a NDA I have therapist sign too.”

Tony Buzbee, the lawyer representing all of the alleged victims, said last week that Watson made masseuses sign non-disclosure agreements.

It would be noteworthy if Watson is trying to settle with some of the victims. While a settlement is not necessarily an admission of guilt, Watson’s agent has publicly accused at least some of the alleged victims of lying for financial gain.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, says the quarterback is a victim of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases. You can read more details about that here.

Vince McMahon argues Oliver Luck was fired for violating XFL character rules

Oliver Luck

Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck are still involved in their lawsuit that stemmed from Luck’s firing last year.

Luck was hired as the XFL commissioner in 2018 and served in that role until the league filed for bankruptcy last April.

McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment fired Luck for cause around the time the league shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Luck filed a lawsuit in response, alleging he was owed the remainder of his five-year, $35 million deal.

The suit has been ongoing in Connecticut. Luck argued that McMahon fired him for a sinister purpose, while McMahon says Luck was fired for cause.

According to XFL News Room, McMahon’s argument is that Luck was fired for cause for violating the league’s character rules. The XFL had character rules for players they would sign, and McMahon says Luck violated those by signing players who had poor character. The signing of Antonio Callaway is one that would not have been allowed based on character rules.

The character matter seems to be an excuse for McMahon, whose Alpha Entertainment was likely looking to minimize expenses. However, it will be up to the court to decide the case.