Ten women have now filed complaints with the Houston Police Department over Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin.
Hardin spoke to ESPN on Monday about developments in criminal and civil cases involving his client.
“There are ten women who have complained to the [Houston] police, ”Hardin said.
Eight of the women, according to Hardin, are among 22 women who have alleged in civil lawsuits that Watson sexually assaulted them or engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.
Two of the women who filed complaints with the Houston police, Hardin said, did not file civil lawsuits against Watson.
“There are a few women we don’t know anything about,” Hardin said.
Hardin admitted to knowing the names of the ten women who have filed criminal complaints, including the two who are not involved in civil litigation, but declined to provide those names to ESPN.
Houston Police made no comment when reached on Monday about the investigation or the number of women who have filed complaints.
Hardin said Watson and his legal team have fully cooperated with the Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
“We’re dealing with both, providing them with information,” Hardin said.
“We are fully cooperating with the police. We are fully cooperating with the District Attorney’s Office, and when the criminal investigation is completed, we will fully cooperate with the NFL. “
NFL investigators have yet to interview Watson, which is typical, Hardin said, in an ongoing criminal case.
“We have made it clear to the NFL that we will fully cooperate with them when they are ready to visit us. But they, out of deference to the criminal investigation, always try to wait until this is over before trying to speak to the accused.
In a statement posted on ESPN Monday, Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 22 women suing Watson, said he and his legal team were continuing to deal with “22 civil cases that make very serious and specific allegations.”
“To date, almost half of these women have made affidavits to police, and almost half have spoken to the NFL investigative team. Both processes are very long. We expect to provide further information to the NFL of all casualties, ”Buzbee said. noted.
Regarding the ongoing civil lawsuits, Hardin said although the two sides have exchanged documents, they have yet to schedule depositions for the 22 women. Under an agreement between the legal teams, the plaintiffs’ depositions will begin in September. Watson will not be removed from office until February of next year.
“It really follows the normal course of all civil litigation,” Hardin said of the depositions. “The dates have not yet been fixed, the exact dates to know who would go when. But they will start in September. “
Should Watson come to a settlement with any or all of the women suing him, Hardin reiterated his desire to make any settlement public and said Watson would not sign any settlement that included a confidentiality agreement.
“I don’t want anyone to say that this guy paid women to stay silent and so if there was a regulation of any kind it should be public and therefore on both sides, [Watson] and women, would be able to tell the whole world what they wanted. “
Hardin admitted on Monday that he was not involved in any way in the decision-making process regarding the future of Watson’s football.
The struggling Texans quarterback has been the subject of trade rumors for months, even before the off-field legal battles that consumed his offseason.
“The teams are ready to jump now if the Texans traded with them, even while this is all on hold,” Hardin said. “There is no doubt that teams, many teams, are always interested. The ball is in the Texans’ court. “
“Regarding Watson’s football career,” Buzbee told ESPN, “I’m not focusing on whether Watson will play; instead, my focus is on the welfare of the women he has come into contact with and the aggressive prosecution of their cases in court. ”