During a press conference on Wednesday, Rusty Hardin, the attorney for Deshaun Watson, revealed that the allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior that have been levied against his client are being investigated by the FBI.
From Yahoo Sports:
The FBI reached out to the quarterback’s legal camp after it made public allegations that Watson was a target of an extortion attempt by one of the 22 women who have filed civil lawsuits against him, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Wednesday. Hardin made the revelation in a wide-ranging media conference that was called after Houston attorney Tony Buzbee—who represents the 22 women with civil litigation pending against Watson—claimed Tuesday that the FBI had contacted him in an effort to investigate claims made in the civil cases. Buzbee also said that the FBI has spoken to some of the women who have filed legal action against Watson.
“In April, the FBI came to us and told us they were investigating a matter as to whether one of Mr. [Tony] Buzbee’s clients had committed extortion in the way they were demanding money from Deshaun or what they would do if they didn’t pay it,” Hardin said during his press conference. “We were not the ones who contacted them; they contacted us. We talked to [the FBI]. We even let them interview Deshaun—and if y’all can find a lawyer that will let his client talk to the FBI if the lawyer had thought his client had done anything wrong or had any exposure, then I’ll be very, very surprised.”
Hardin then insisted that Watson will “continue to cooperate” in the investigation and maintained that the FBI’s involvement wasn’t reflective of his client’s presumed guilt.
“I don’t think they’re investigating Deshaun,” Hardin said. “What they’re investigating is the allegations Buzbee has made in his lawsuits. I didn’t know about that until yesterday, and then I checked it out and it’s true. They are.”
He added, “We will continue to cooperate with [the FBI] in any way that they want. We have from the first cooperated with the Houston Police Department, cooperated with the district attorney’s office, and we’ll cooperate with the FBI, and ultimately, down the line, we’ll cooperate with the NFL because we know Deshaun has done absolutely nothing wrong.”
Hardin also stated that the embattled quarterback has yet to speak to the league as part of its investigation.
“The NFL regularly tries to not reach out to the defendant and his lawyers and seek evidence from them until the criminal investigation is over,” he explained. “Historically, they want to make sure they don’t interfere with the criminal investigation. I have had no contact with the NFL except to call initially and say, whenever the time is appropriate, we will fully cooperate.”
As we previously reported at The Root, the Texans have shifted their stance on Watson’s trade demand and are now willing to grant his wish in exchange for “a combination of five high draft picks and starting-caliber players.” If the Clemson product wasn’t embroiled in such serious allegations, teams would be lining up with offers for one of the best quarterbacks in the league. But it appears that Watson will remain in limbo indefinitely until this situation is resolved.