The attorney representing Deshaun Watson said a woman his team believes is a ‘Jane Doe’ in a lawsuit previously tried to blackmail Watson demanding money for silence after a consensual encounter.
“In January of this year, a woman attempted to blackmail Deshaun by demanding $30,000 in exchange for her ‘indefinite silence’ about what she stated was a sexual encounter,” Rusty Hardin said in a statement to Fox 26 Sports Director Mark Berman.
Hardin, the Houston-based attorney representing Watson, said it takes courage for women to come forward to report sexual assault when they don’t attach names to lawsuits.
Hardin said the opposing counsel is using anonymity as a sword to publicly humiliate Watson, not to shield victims.
“Opposing counsel has orchestrated a circus-like atmosphere by using social media to publicize 14 ‘Jane Doe’ lawsuits during the past seven days in a manner calculated to inflame the public and malign Deshaun’s otherwise sterling reputation,” he said.
He said he believes that any allegation that Watson forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false and said in the lawsuit case “we have strong evidence to show the allegation is false.”
Burney’s affidavit states that Jane Doe said the consensual encounter would be “embarrassing if revealed and that Deshaun should pay to keep the matter secret.”
Jane Doe’s business manager’s demand to be paid $30,000 would not be met for revealing a consensual interaction between two adults, Burney states that is extortion.
Watson’s marketing manager informed Jane Doe that no money would be paid, and said that her “conduct is completely inconsistent with statements made previously, the document reads.
Hardin and Burney are referring to the lawsuit filed on March 17 at 8:01 p.m. and this Jane Doe. All 14 lawsuits, so far, have been filed under the name, Jane Doe.
Hardin said all allegations are being taken very seriously and ask that people not rush to a conclusion.
“We ask only that people not rush to judgment, that people not be unduly influenced by opposing counsel’s antics and they fundamental fairness to both sides rule the day,” Hardin said.