EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tony Buzbee Hints At Another Possible Civil Suit Coming Against Deshaun Watson: “We Are At The Tip Of The Iceberg.”
In the wake of a New York Times Article alleging that Deshaun Watson met at least sixty-six women for massages and following the filing of a 24th civil suit accusing Watson of sexual misconduct, the Plaintiffs’ attorney hints that more suits could be in the pipeline against the Cleveland Browns Quarterback.
“The next cases that might be filed, are people that his people met with and tried to bully into not filing the case, so we’ll see what happens,” said Houston based attorney Tony Buzbee, speaking to League of Justice. “There have been women, who Rusty Hardin’s team has met with and taken them out to fancy dinners, and tried to get them not to file a lawsuit.” Hardin’s team has denied this.
Buzbee said he won’t suggest that Watson or Hardin tried to pay the women off, only that they tried to talk them out of suing Watson. Buzbee claims at least one of these women has filed suit already and indicated that at least one other may file, which would bring the number of civil suits against Watson up to twenty-five.
Buzbee claims his office got many calls following a special on HBO’s Real Sports where two women accusing Watson of sexual misconduct told their stories. The special also included representatives from Watson’s legal team responding to questions.
“Lots of people reached out,” said Buzbee, indicating more cases could be on the horizon. He continued, “I have to sift through the ones, based on my ethical obligation that I think I can pursue and the ones I can’t.”
Buzbee claims people reached out who were alleged victims, others who were alleged witnesses and others with information to share. Buzbee said he recently also received files from Houston Police, that will be released eventually and provide more background and context. He says those files include interviews with people from the Texans.
The New York Times Article alleges that the Texans, whether knowingly or not, may have assisted Watson’s behavior by providing him with a membership to the Houstonian Hotel, where many of the massages in question allegedly took place. Reporter Jenny Vrentas also alleges that an employee of the Texans provided Watson with a non-disclosure agreement.
“We are at the tip of the iceberg right now with this situation,” Buzbee said. “Not only people trying to protect their asset, [but] people trying to minimize and denigrate women. A lot of this is gonna come out as we go forward.”
Buzbee said the New York Times Article alleged that Watson had booked sixty-six massages over a seventeen-month span but says he thinks, “there’s clearly a lot more,” indicating in legal papers that attempts at bookings surpassed one hundred massages during Watson’s time with the Texans, according to discovery materials reviewed by the Plaintiffs’ attorney.
Watson’s own attorney, Rusty Hardin, has acknowledged that Watson did partake in dozens of massages, which he inferred was typical given the nature of Watson’s work as a football player.
Buzbee says, in his opinion, Watson has been the “victim of incredibly bad advice” from his attorneys.
“The dumbest advice they ever gave was convincing Deshaun Watson against his interests to fight this,” he said. “The longer this goes on, the more information I’m gonna collect because I do not stop. I’m a [former] Special Forces Marine. I don’t stop. Being criticized by people here and there is not gonna slow me down and by the time we finally try this first case, whenever that’s gonna be, the mountain of evidence is gonna be so overwhelming.”
When asked whether he has been contacted again to settle, Buzbee said only a mediator has reached out and not Watson’s direct team.
“If you have an offer, make it,” said Buzbee. “But if you want to have a conversation, go talk to the wall…I am not interested in having a conversation with you fools.”
Buzbee, clearly fuming over the accusations leveled against him by Watson’s legal team on HBO’s Real Sports said he was verbally attacked by them and claims Hardin and team “couldn’t carry [his] brief case.”
Hardin’s team inferred that Buzbee, as the only representative for all twenty- four women suing Watson, had a hand in recruiting the women. Buzbee claims, many of the cases were referred to him by other lawyers.
Buzbee, who claims he has been disrespected repeatedly by Watson’s team, cited the three big “mistakes,” they have made throughout the process.
He says, before the cases even were filed, he was disrespected by a Los Angeles based attorney allegedly representing Watson who did not take his clients complaints seriously.
“This person on behalf of his client basically told me F*** off. He had no idea what he was saying or who he was saying it to,” Buzbee said. “Biggest mistake in sports in the last five years I promise you.”
Buzbee said the second mistake was made by Watson’s team after he filed a few of the first cases and had a short conversation with Rusty Hardin.
“I said, ‘Man, based on what I know, your client has a problem.”
Describing Hardin as “initially receptive” to working it out and settling, Buzbee claims Hardin never even bothered to call him back.
Buzbee, said mistake number three was Watson’s team going on HBO Real Sports and “attacking” him.
The Houston based attorney, who frequently describes his humble upbringing and advertises his successful verdicts in the billions, claims that the civil realm is his specialty. He often describes Watson’s accusers as heroes who have the courage to stand up to a powerful celebrity and athlete despite the drawbacks of doing so. Watson’s team on the other hand, has accused at least one woman of an extortion attempt and claims Watson’s only “refuge” is in a courtroom where his accusers can be cross-examined. Watson’s team faults the media and the NFL for failing to take the accusers to task and investigate their backgrounds and allegations more thoroughly, citing alleged contradictions in their statements and actions, which they claim will be proven in court. Buzbee is not concerned.
“I’m gonna win and I’m gonna win big,” said Buzbee. “I’m gonna win every one of them [cases].”
Deshaun Watson’s team would not specifically comment on all allegations that appeared in the New York Times article, including allegations that Hardin and team allegedly communicated with the Assistant District Attorney, in person and through texts and emails.
However, they did say in a statement to the Times, “We can say when the real facts are known this issue will appear in a different light.”
Hardin recently made national news when he seemed to indicate in a radio interview on Audacy’s Payne & Pendergast show on Sports Radio 610 that “happy endings” are not illegal unless someone pays extra for them. This confused many, as “happy endings” are generally understood to take place during the context of a paid for massage which renders them illegal in most states.
Hardin also claimed that the Miami Dolphins were willing to take a chance on Watson before the November trade deadline if he settled all twenty-two cases with non-disclosure agreements. However, in the final hour of settlement talks two women decided not to settle and Hardin abandoned all of the settlements because Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross allegedly wouldn’t move forward with the trade. Hardin claimed Watson very badly wanted to go play for Miami. Full story on that HERE.
Watson’s legal team and Watson himself continue to vehemently deny all allegations against the Quarterback and two Grand Juries have declined to recommend criminal charges despite ten police reports being filed and investigated.
Watson is under a $230 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Browns. The NFL has not yet issued a statement on whether or not Watson will face any discipline but reports from Watson’s attorney indicate the investigation has concluded, following four intense days of NFL investigators questioning Watson. Buzbee said the NFL has not yet reached out to him to interview the two women who recently filed civil suits 23 and 24 and he does not think it will.
The twenty-four civil cases that accuse Watson of various forms of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct could take years to get through trial, especially if the cases are all tried individually.