Deshaun Watson’s legal troubles are growing not shrinking.
On Tuesday, a new complainant filed a lawsuit against the Cleveland Browns quarterback, alleging sexual misconduct. She is the 23rd woman to file a civil suit against Watson alleging similar behavior during massage sessions.
This lawsuit filed recently in Harris County, TX., states the woman had three massage encounters with Watson in Houston that got progressively worse. During the third encounter in the summer of 2020, the lawsuit states Watson exposed himself to her, touched her between her legs and repeatedly requested she have sex with him.
The new allegations are brought by Nia Smith who is also being represented by attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the 22 other alleged victims.
“Today we filed suit for the 23rd plaintiff in this litigation,” Buzbee said in a statement. “Other cases may come. The Watson defense team has vilified these women and this cause. Shame on them! We look forward to trying this case in court.”
After first deciding not to file a lawsuit against Watson, the woman changed her mind after watching a segment about the lawsuits last week on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
“In that piece, plaintiff was struck by the courage of the victims willing to step forward and speak and was extremely displeased by Watson and his legal team’s mistreatment and revictimizations of the plaintiffs,” the latest lawsuit reads. “But it was Watson himself claiming that even now he has ‘no regrets’ and has done nothing wrong that solidified her resolve. She brings this case seeking minimum compensation, but to obtain a court finding that Watson’s conduct was wrong.”
The lawsuit also contends that Smith quit her job at New U. Salon Spa after complaining about Watson’s alleged misconduct to the owner of the spa, Dionne Louis.
Watson has vigorously denied any wrongdoing.
And two Texas Grand Juries empaneled in Texas agreed not to bring criminal indictments against the quarterback.
UPDATE: Rusty Hardin, who represents Watson, released his own statement in response to Tuesday’s additional allegations.
“Deshaun Watson vehemently denies the allegations, just as he has since she first discussed them with members of our firm in March of last year,” Hardin wrote in a statement. “She repeated the allegations on social media in August and he denied them then. The only thing new about her contentions is the embellishment making them more extreme than prior versions. Deshaun’s denial remains the same.”
The NFL, meanwhile, has been investigating Watson’s actions to decide if he’s violated the league Personal Conduct Policy. If he is found in violation he could be suspended.
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