The attorney for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson says that Watson has spoken to the FBI about an investigation into whether at least one of the women accusing him of sexual assault has committed extortion, but Watson has not yet participated into the NFL’s investigation of the accusations against him.
Lawyer Rusty Hardin said at a press conference today that he encouraged Watson to cooperate with the FBI because he’s confident that Watson was the victim of extortion, not the perpetrator of a crime. The lawyer representing the women accusing Watson, Tony Buzbee, revealed this week that the FBI is looking into the matter.
“In April the FBI came to us and told us they were investigating a matter in regards to whether one of Mr. Buzbee’s clients committed extortion,” Hardin said today. “If you can find a lawyer who would let his client talk to the FBI if his client did anything wrong or had any exposure, I would be very, very surprised.”
Hardin said Watson has not yet spoken to NFL investigators because they haven’t asked to talk to him, but Hardin said Watson will cooperate with the NFL whenever that request is made.
“The answer is no, and here’s the reason: The NFL regularly tries to not reach out to the defendant and his lawyers until the criminal investigation is over. They want to make sure they don’t interfere with the criminal investigation,” Hardin said when asked if Watson has talked to the NFL. “Whenever the time is appropriate we will fully cooperate.”
Watson is accused in civil lawsuits brought by 22 different women of using massage appointments as a pretext for sexually harassing and assaulting female massage therapists.