Exclusive Interview: Tony Buzbee claims, FBI Investigating Deshaun Watson.
In an exclusive interview with League of Justice founder, & CBS Sports Radio & Fox Sports Radio’s Amy Dash, Tony Buzbee claimed the FBI is investigating Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Houston based attorney, who represents nearly two dozen women accusing Watson of various forms of sexual harassment and sexual assault, said FBI agents from the Houston field division visited him in his office and he has since met with them multiple times. Speaking to Dash by phone on Friday, Buzbee claimed the last meeting was as recent as one week ago.
“Let’s be clear, when somebody comes into your office on the 73rd floor of the Chase Tower, whether they’re the FDA or the FBI, it’s a big deal. Well, it was the FBI,” Buzbee said, describing the first time the FBI allegedly visited him to discuss Watson.
“They contacted me and I’ve met with them three times now and now they’ve met with several of the plaintiffs in the case,” said Buzbee by phone.
Buzbee claims the agents told him they had seen all of the statements that have been given to the police department and found them “very compelling and very persuasive.”
Buzbee went on to say, “and then these guys came to my office and I’m like ‘hey boys’.”
The plaintiffs’ attorney says he asked the agents, “Why do you care about this?”
“He said to me [the FBI agent], he’s like, ‘look, what I’ve heard is that most of the reachouts occurred via the internet which creates jurisdiction for us,’ said Buzbee, describing his alleged conversation. He says the Agent continued, “But then I understand there were these two women that were from out of state, which obviously creates more jurisdiction as well.” At least one woman who has filed a lawsuit against Watson claims he flew her in from Georgia to give him a massage before he allegedly tried to make it into something more. Watson denies the allegation.
Buzbee who called the Agents “very professional,” said they put him in touch with their boss, the Assistant United States Attorney, and claims he had “a couple conversations with her.”
“And I told her I was like you know um, this is what we know, this is what we have,” said Buzbee. “And she was like, ‘well I just want you to know we are not gonna waste your time.'”
Buzbee also said the FBI has spoken with several of his clients, whom he is representing in civil lawsuits against Watson. He claims the agency assured him it is taking the allegations “very seriously.” At least one other person connected to the Watson story has independently confirmed to League of Justice that they were contacted by and spoke to the FBI but would not discuss the nature of the inquiry.
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin was fuming when he learned of Buzbee’s comments, responding, “I have absolutely no reason to believe that Deshaun is being investigated by the FBI. I have absolutely no reason to believe that Mr. Buzbee’s spin is the truth or that it’s anymore accurate than any of the other misstatements he has sponsored. I simply do not believe the FBI is investigating Deshaun.” Hardin acknowledged that the FBI would likely not tell him if they were in fact investigating Watson as per their protocol. Hardin was concerned about the effects of a story like this coming at a time when there are trade talks about Watson and chalked it up to an attempt by Buzbee to harm Watson’s reputation. “Mr. Buzbee’s comments are just part of a long, continuing pattern of just trying to harm Deshaun in the public perception. It is despicable conduct and I hope one day people will hold him accountable when the whole truth comes out.”
League of Justice spoke with the FBI’s national and local offices. The Houston Division replied, “Per Department Of Justice policy, the FBI does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.”
According to Buzbee, the FBI has allegedly been investigating Watson for some time, though this is not confirmed.
“When I did a press conference many months ago,” he said. “I made it very clear that I had talked to people or to entities that were interested in the specifics of where the particular alleged victim was from, how the alleged victim got here [to Houston] but that is an ongoing issue at this moment.”
Buzbee, who held a press conference back in April with Watson accuser Ashley Solis, said this at the time:
“Deshaun Watson reaches out to a woman in Atlanta, Georgia, while he’s in Houston,” Buzbee said. “Hear what I’m saying. He reaches out to a woman via direct message on Instagram who’s located in Atlanta, Georgia. He does this while he’s in Houston. He asks her for a massage. He tells her he’ll fly her in. He buys her a plane ticket. He arranges for her Uber from the airport. He Ubers her to the Houstonian.”
Buzbee also had a human trafficking expert present at the presser.
While Buzbee would not speak about specific potential charges, he did emphasize the FBI’s alleged interest in Watson’s use of the internet. In a vast majority of the lawsuits filed by Buzbee’s clients, the plaintiffs claim Watson reached out to them over Instagram to retain their services for a massage, later allegedly propositioning some for sex acts once they arrived to the location. Watson denies all of the allegations and has claimed through his attorney that some sexual encounters did take place but were all consensual.
Last week, Mark Berman from Fox26 KRIV in Houston, tweeted that a grand jury investigation is reportedly underway against Watson and is being headed by the Human Trafficking Section Chief for the Harris County District Attorney’s office.
Federal laws govern the use of the internet or any interstate travel for prostitution, soliciting prostitution, pimping or human trafficking. Section 1591 of the United States Code makes it a federal crime to use interstate or foreign commerce or travel to “recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, advertise, maintain, patronize, or solicit by any means a person; knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that means of force, threats of force, fraud, coercion … , or any combination of such means will be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act.” A conviction could carry a minimum of ten or twenty years in prison for a first offense. However, the statute also makes it an actionable crime for anyone to use interstate or foreign commerce to offer or receive sexual services as well.
At present, Watson has not been arrested or charged with any crimes at the local or the federal level and proclaims his innocence with regards to the allegations in the civil lawsuits filed against him. The NFL is conducting its own investigation and has not taken any disciplinary action against Watson. The quarterback was practicing with the Texans as recently as last week but was reportedly absent from practice on Monday.
Buzbee says he has also spoken to local police departments in Georgia and California about alleged incidents involving his clients who live in those states. At least eight of his clients and two women whom he does not represent have reportedly filed police reports against Watson with the Houston Police Department, according to Buzbee.
As for Houston PD’s ongoing investigation, Buzbee, who once expressed distrust of the Department, has changed his tune. “I’ve been very impressed with HPD,” he said. “They are true professionals.”
League of Justice Note: Normally, federal agencies will not comment on whether there is or is not an ongoing investigation. Deshaun Watson has not been charged with any crime. As a general rule, anyone who is accused of or charged with a crime should be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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Back in April, following Buzbee’s presser, League of Justice Founder Amy Dash discussed how he hinted at the possibility of human trafficking charges in the Watson case.
Via Fox Sports Radio, April 9, 2021.
According to Mark Berman, a grand jury has been put together to determine whether or not there is enough evidence against the Texans quarterback to charge him…August 16, 2021