Twenty women have identified themselves as plaintiffs in civil lawsuits accusing Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct and sexual assault, The Athletic reports.
The article states another is expected to do so by Thursday after a Wednesday afternoon hearing on the matter was called off.
A judge ruled on Friday that 13 of the 22 plaintiffs would have to reveal their names and a 14th was agreed upon between the two camps — it was also noted in a Tuesday court record one lawsuit would be dropped.
On Wednesday, the plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee said the team is amending 20 petitions to disclose names of the alleged victims, even those not currently subject to any court order, according to a statement per Around the NFL.
“In light of privacy and security concerns, Plaintiff has decided not to pursue her case, for now,” Buzbee wrote in a notice of nonsuit submitted Tuesday night. “Plaintiff reserves the right to refile this case once such concerns are addressed.”
Up to now, only two women have been publicly identified — Ashley Solis spoke out and Lauren Baxley had a letter she had written read aloud by a lawyer from Buzbee’s firm during an April 6 news conference.
“We previously attempted to make available to defense counsel the names of the plaintiffs suing Deshaun Watson, and intended to do so in due course,” Buzbee said in a statement Tuesday night, per Around the NFL. “We were concerned about the safety of these plaintiffs, and asked the Watson team to agree to a protective order where the identities could be used in litigation, but not broadcast to the world.”
Buzbee said the Watson team refused his team’s offer of compromise, and instead insisted that they amend the petitions to name the women — a judge agreed in 13 of the suits.
“It appears the Watson team thinks that if these courageous women are forced to identify themselves, they would slink away and not pursue this matter,” Buzbee said, per Around the NFL. “Watson and his counsel badly miscalculated. Due to the bravery of Ashley Solis to come forward publicly, and despite the death threats she has experienced, these women are now emboldened.”
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin said during a news conference on Friday that the public is entitled to know who the accusers in the lawsuits are.
“The only way these accusations or these allegations can be looked at as thoroughly as y’all have looked at us if for you to know who the accuser is, just like us,” Hardin said. ” I think that when someone makes this kind of accusation, it is only appropriate for people to look into the accuser as well as the accused because how else do you know?”
The Houston Police Department announced on April 2 it had opened an investigation following a complaint being issued against Watson.
The NFL is currently investigating the allegations against Watson.
“We welcome this long overdue development,” Hardin said in response at the beginning of the month. “We will fully cooperate with the Houston Police Department.”
Check back with OutKick for updates.