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#pounditFriday, September 24, 2021

Deshaun Watson’s lawyer says one of alleged victims tried to blackmail QB

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson has had a total of 14 sexual assault lawsuits filed against him, but the Houston Texans star is maintaining his innocence. According to Watson’s lawyer, there is evidence of a blackmail attempt in at least one of the cases.

Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin issued a statement on Tuesday to media outlets including Larry Brown Sports addressing the allegations against the quarterback. Hardin criticized Tony Buzbee, the lawyer representing the alleged victims, for creating a “circus-like atmosphere” and using social media to turn the public against Watson. He also said opposing counsel has made it difficult to uncover the truth by not providing the names of the women who filed the lawsuits.

According to Hardin, one woman attempted to blackmail Watson in January by demanding a large sum of money to keep quiet about a sexual encounter that was said to be consensual.

“I believe that any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false. And in the one case in which we have been able to identify a plaintiff, we have strong evidence showing the allegation is false,” Hardin said. “In January of this year, a woman attempted to blackmail Deshaun by demanding $30,000 in exchange for her ‘indefinite silence’ about what she stated was a consensual encounter. It is our belief this woman is the plaintiff in (one of the lawsuits).”

Hardin provided a declaration from Bryan Burney, who says he has been Watson’s marketing manager for three years. Burney says he was contacted by a woman on Dec. 28, 2020, which is the same day one of the alleged victims said she met with Watson. Burney claims the woman demanded a “settlement” of $30,000 to remain quiet about an encounter she had with Watson that was consensual but both she and Watson would want to keep under wraps. Burney says he then received a call from a man purporting to be the woman’s business manager who made the same demands.

Hardin went on to say that his legal team has received “unsolicited comments” from massage therapists who have worked with Watson and describe him “as a gentleman and a model client who never engaged in inappropriate conduct.”

Watson’s agent sent a tweet last week accusing the alleged victims of lying for financial gain. One woman who claims to have given Watson several massages defended the Pro Bowler on social media.

Buzbee says there are a total of 24 women who had similar experiences with Watson, with 14 having filed lawsuits. The latest, which was filed on Monday night, included more troubling allegations against the quarterback.

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