The FBI is investigating allegations against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the NFL confirmed on Monday. On Friday, TMZ Sports reported that a woman accused Watson of trying to extort her for sex.
HOUSTON, Texas — The FBI is looking into accusations of sexual assault and improper conduct against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin.
Hardin also claimed that Watson talked to the FBI about extortion claims in one of the quarterback’s 23 cases, 22 of which are still pending.
“The FBI came to us in April and said they were looking into whether one of Mr. [Tony] Buzbee’s clients had committed extortion in the manner they were demanding money from Deshaun or what they would do if they didn’t pay it,” Hardin said during a press conference.
“We were not the ones who reached out to them; they reached out to us. [The FBI] was contacted. We even let them interview Deshaun — and I’ll be extremely shocked if you can find a lawyer who would allow his client speak to the FBI if the lawyer believes his client has done anything illegal or has any vulnerability.”
Buzbee, who represents the women who are suing Watson, told the League of Justice website on Friday that the FBI visited with him and talked with numerous plaintiffs about Watson.
“I don’t believe they’re looking into Deshaun,” Hardin said. “They’re looking into the claims made by Buzbee in his cases. I wasn’t aware of this until yesterday, when I checked it out and discovered that it is correct. Yes, they are.”
Watson would “continue to cooperate” with all parties engaged in the inquiry, according to Hardin.
Hardin said, “We will continue to assist with [the FBI] in whatever manner they want.” “We’ve always worked with the Houston Police Department, the district attorney’s office, and we’ll continue to cooperate with the FBI and, eventually, the NFL because we believe Deshaun has done nothing illegal.”
Hardin presented text texts to Watson from the woman he accuses of extortion at his press appearance. The text conversations, according to Hardin, do not reference a claimed assault on Dec. 28, 2020, during a massage session, and the lady says she “apologize[d] for my behavior.”
Later Wednesday, Buzbee told The Associated Press that Hardin is pursuing the women who have sued Watson, claiming that Hardin is “bent on trying to harm me or my clients, and I’m weary of it.”
Hardin told ESPN’s John Barr last month that ten women had made complaints with the Houston Police Department against Watson. According to Hardin, eight of the women are among the 22 plaintiffs who have filed cases against Watson.
Watson has not talked to the NFL as part of its inquiry into the claims, according to Hardin.
“The NFL often avoids contacting the defendant and his attorneys to get evidence until the criminal investigation is completed,” Hardin said. “They have a history of wanting to avoid interfering with criminal investigations. I have had no communication with the NFL other than to phone and say that we would completely comply when the time comes.”
This story was based on information from The Associated Press.