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Sometimes the easy questions are the hardest to answer.
That’s how it seemed late Tuesday night for Deshaun Watson lawyer Leah Graham, who represents the Cleveland Browns quarterback along with Rusty Hardin, when she spoke with Soledad O’Brien on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
The question from O’Brien relative to the sexual harassment and sexual battery lawsuits that are pending was simple. Not a gotcha question at all:
Why should the public believe one man (Watson) instead of 22 women (his accusers)?
“It’s 22 women. It’s one lawyer,” Graham responded. “There’s only one lawyer who was willing to take these cases. And as we know from Ashley Solis’ deposition, Mr. [Tony] Buzbee was not the first, probably not the second or third lawyer she went to, but he was the only one to take her case. Why?
“Not because it had merit, but because he would use these cases to increase his social media following and quite frankly to get on shows like this one.”
Everyone understands that’s a non-answer, right?
We shouldn’t believe all these women because the first lawyer one of them went to didn’t take the case?
So, by this logic, anyone who has ever been refused counsel by one attorney and sought another is not credible?
Graham portrays Buzbee as a ring leader of women who are conspiring against Watson.
“I would argue the inquiry should be focused on Mr. Buzbee’s conduct, not Deshaun’s,” Graham said. “Because when you start looking into how we got to 22 cases, he went on social media immediately to create vague statements, vague allegations about behavior that needed to be stopped, and then solicited his clients — solicited clients to say call me, and they did.”
Law enforcement, by the way, routinely solicits witnesses when they are investigating cases. And while Buzbee isn’t a law enforcement agency, the idea he should be under inquiry because he solicited potential witnesses to an alleged behavior and turned those witnesses into clients is quite a leap.
Watson has insisted his massage sessions resulted in no harassment. And no assault of any kind happened. Graham said her client has no regrets.
“As he testified in his depositions last week, yes, he has no regrets because he did nothing wrong,” Graham said. “He did nothing wrong in these massages. And although to your first question, ‘How can he be innocent?’ I think the real question is, “What evidence is there of any guilt?”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday the NFL is “nearing the end of the investigation” it is conducting on Watson but offered no definitive time line.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero