13 Of Deshaun Watson’s Accusers Will Be Publicly Identified, After Friday Court Hearings
The women’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, has argued that anonymity is necessary for their safety.
The names of 13 massage therapists who accused Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault will be made public, after two judges ordered attorney Tony Buzbee to refile many of the anonymous lawsuits on Friday.
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin filed the motions to have the names of the Jane Doe defendents revealed. At a Friday afternoon hearing, attorney Tony Buzbee — who represents the 22 women — confirmed that nine women in total have agreed to come forward.
In addition to the nine women, Judge Rabeea Collier ordered the names of three additional accusers to be made public. Earlier in the day, Judge Dedra Davis ordered the disclosure of one additional woman.
Hardin accused Buzbee of using the anonymity of the 22 accusers to his advantage, something he said was “legally” and “morally wrong.”
"He used that anonymity as a way to get his side out, leaving us powerless to answer," Hardin said at an afternoon hearing.
The quarterback’s attorney read off a list of attacks on social media, in which the NFL star was called a "rapist walking the streets," and a "disgrace to the NFL."
“Put Deshaun Watson's creepy ass in the clinker and lose the key,” read one post. Watson’s mother allegedly received a message: “Fine rapist son you've got there.”
"This is horrible stuff on both sides,” Hardin said. “But for two weeks this man has been attacked like that by these carefully orchestrated, leaked allegations”
But Buzbee said the level of harassment levvied against his clients goes beyond just name-calling.
“There's a big difference between calling people names,” Buzbee said, “and saying that someone should be dead, be put in a ditch, those kinds of things.”
Two of the 22 massage therapists accusing Watson came forward on Tuesday. One woman, Ashley Solis, appeared in person to name Watson as her abuser during a March 2020 session. She has gone to police with her allegations. A second woman, Lauren Baxley, did not appear in person but wrote a letter identifying herself by name.
The Houston Police Department has confirmed that Watson is under criminal investigation, but has thus far declined to provide details.
A third hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT Friday.
Additional reporting by Lucio Vasquez. Additional contributions from the Associated Press.