The latest accuser coming out against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is receiving a healthy amount of pushback from his legal defense.
Watson is currently serving his 11-game suspension assigned by the NFL for his role in over 20 alleged cases of sexual assault and misconduct filed against the QB by different massage therapists. He was also fined $5 million by the NFL.
The latest case was filed in Harris Court District Court in recent weeks, becoming the 26th filing against Watson. The anonymous massage therapist alleged that Watson scheduled a session in late 2020 where he made her perform oral sex.
Watson’s 26th Sexual Misconduct Case Takes A Turn
Messages exchanged between Watson and the plaintiff, obtained by TMZ, revealed that the plaintiff made salacious outreaches to Watson. Some of those messages were sent days after the alleged incident between the two in late 2020.
The messages included explicit sexual offers, including giving “the best head in all of Houston.”
Speaking with cleveland.com, Rusty Hardin — Watson’s attorney — called the woman’s filing an “extortionist shakedown.”
“It’s nothing but an extortionist shakedown and we’re not going to put up with it,” Hardin said. “The days of settling lawsuits that we don’t believe in are over.”
Watson’s legal team shared that the Jane Doe in question met with the QB’s counsel in 2021. In her discussion, the plaintiff shared that she did not feel intimidated during her interactions with Watson.
The anonymous plaintiff had also met with Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing over 20 women accusing Watson of sexual misconduct, and that her case was among the five cases Buzzbee had rejected.
Hardin associate Leah Graham expressed that the latest case will serve as an example for future women looking to indict Watson.
“I think the days of biting our tongue and trying to be politically correct and trying to be a little bit cautious about what the evidence shows and what the facts reveal — the days of doing that are over,” Graham shared. “The truth shall set us free.”
During the NFL’s meeting in New York earlier this month, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seemingly committed to upholding Watson’s suspension at 11 games while saying that new cases will be assessed for any further punishments.
Watson settled with 23 of the 24 accusers at the time of his punishment by the NFL.
“As far as any additional [allegations], we obviously will follow all of those. If there’s new information, we’ll take that into consideration, but we’ll see as time goes on,” Goodell said.