Two emergency hearings are scheduled for Friday for a judge to rule whether attorney Tony Buzbee is compelled to release to Deshaun Watson’s defense team the identity of two of the 22 women who have filed sexual misconduct civil lawsuits against the Texans quarterback.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, filed the motions for hearings on all 22 lawsuits Thursday, and two were granted in Harris County District Court as of Thursday afternoon. Because all the suits are separated, Hardin had to file a new motion to reveal an identity in each case.
Two of Watson’s accusers came forward earlier this week but the other 20 remain identified as Jane Does. Watson has denied allegations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse.
“We have said this before and we want to say it again: Deshaun did not force, coerce or intimidate anyone to do anything against their will,” Hardin said in a statement. “When we asked Mr. Buzbee to identify his clients weeks ago, he refused and told us to file a motion. Today we filed that motion.”
The filing claims that the use of anonymous lawsuits violates Texas law and “the basic concept of fairness,” according to Hardin. It also states that Watson “cannot in good conscience publicly respond to the specific allegations being made because any response would be based on dangerous speculation about the identity of the accusers,” according to ESPN.
“While I understand that anonymity often is used as a shield for victims, Mr. Buzbee is using it as a sword,” Hardin said. “While shielding his clients from public scrutiny, Mr. Buzbee continues to use their anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson. This is simply not right. And we look forward to resolving these matters in court.”