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Just a day after news broke that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson still wants to be traded and will be reporting to training camp in the meantime, 10 women have now filed complaints with Houston police about the quarterback.
Watson’s asking price to be traded was set Monday morning, but just hours later, ESPN reports that Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said there are 10 women that have made complaints to the Houston Police Department.
The attorney told ESPN eight of the women are among the 22 women who have alleged in lawsuits that Watson sexually assaulted them or engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.
Two of the women who have filed complaints with Houston police have not filed lawsuits against Watson, he said.
“There are a couple of women who we don’t know anything about,” Hardin said, per ESPN.
Houston police would not comment when reached by ESPN Monday on either the investigation or the number of women who have filed complaints.
Watson’s legal camp said they have fully cooperated with the police and the district attorney’s office.
“We’re dealing with both of them, providing them information,” Hardin said.
“We’ve made it clear to the NFL that we’ll totally cooperate with them when they’re ready to visit with us,” Hardin said. “But they, out of deference to the criminal investigation, always try to wait until that’s completed before they try to talk to the accused person.”
Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson, said he and his legal team continue to handle “22 civil cases that make very serious and specific allegations,” in a statement released to ESPN on Monday.
“As of today, almost half of these women have given sworn statements to the police, and almost half have spoken to the NFL’s investigative team,” he said. “Both processes are very lengthy. We expect to provide further information to the NFL from all victims.”
With respect to the pending lawsuits, Hardin told ESPN that while both sides have exchanged documents, they have yet to schedule depositions for the 22 women. Under an agreement between the legal teams, depositions for the plaintiffs will begin in September.
“It is really going the normal course of all civil litigation,” Hardin said, per ESPN. “The dates haven’t been set as of yet, the exact dates as to who would go when. But they’ll start in September.”
Watson’s legal camp acknowledged that they aren’t involved in his decision-making when it comes to his football future.
The Texans quarterback has been the subject of trade rumors for months, which began before his civil lawsuit battles.
“Teams are ready to jump now if the Texans would trade with them, even while all this is pending,” Hardin said. “There’s no question that teams, numerous teams, are still interested. The ball is in the Texans’ court.”
Before Monday’s news of the 10 complaints made to the Houston Police Department, the quarterback faces 22 civil lawsuits, but court records show the timeline of the litigation won’t interfere with his football career until the season has ended based on an “agreed docket control order” in the cases — a timeline of dates and deadlines that the parties have agreed upon.
“As far as Watson’s football career, I’m not focused on whether Watson will play; I’m instead focused on the welfare of the women he had contact with and aggressively pursuing their cases in court,” Buzbee told ESPN.