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The first woman to file a sexual misconduct lawsuit against Deshaun Watson came forward to tell her story publicly in a press conference Tuesday and said the NFL quarterback assaulted and harassed her in her home in March 2020.
Ashley Solis, a licensed massage therapist, was the first Watson accuser to reveal her identity among the 22 who have filed lawsuits against the Texans QB since March 16 during the conference organized by her attorney Tony Buzbee on Tuesday.
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin released an email response to comments made during the conference Tuesday evening in regard to the claims the lawsuits weren’t about money.
“At a press conference today, attorney Anthony Buzbee introduced the first plaintiff to the media. She identified herself as Ashley Solis. In her remarks, Ms. Solis stated: ‘People say that I’m doing this just for money. That is false,'” the statement reads.
Hardin’s office provides an email chain from early 2021 which appears to show Buzbee sought $100,000 in hush money on behalf of Solis to quietly settle the allegations the month before he filed the first lawsuit.
The release states the Watson representative who engaged in the discussions with Buzbee and his firm is Scott Gaffield, the General Counsel at the Athletes First agency of Laguna Beach. On Feb. 19, Gaffield responded and asked for “the rationale behind the $100k demand” since “we don’t believe that the alleged facts show that Deshaun did anything wrong.”
Buzbee responded the same morning: “We made a legit demand. You rejected it. We won’t be making another or bid against ourselves.” He then added: “This is Houston, Texas. Perhaps you should find him a lawyer here so you can apprise both you and your client of the landscape here and who you are dealing with.”
OutKick reached out to Buzbee for comment in response to Hardin’s release of the emails, and he provided the following statement:
“It’s old news that we attempted to settle this case with Watson’s team before filing the first case. We attempted to avoid this circus that Watson’s team has created. The fact that we tried to settle before the first suit came out when we filed the first case. That’s the only defense that the Watson team has. It’s a weak defense. Now there are 22 cases. Perhaps Watson’s team should have listened to me”.Tony Buzbee
Houston Police Department received a report on April 2 and is now investigating Watson, and Hardin says the development is “long overdue.”
Check back with OutKick for updates.