Attorneys for Deshaun Watson filed a series of court exhibits Monday, which they’ve offered as evidence to undermine allegations from the latest woman to accuse Watson of sexually assaulting her during a massage session.
In her lawsuit filed earlier this month, the woman, who initially sued Watson under the pseudonym Jane Doe before amending the suit to include her name after a court order, alleged that Watson attempted to pressure her into “massaging his private area” and having sex and, ultimately, “was able to pressure her into oral sex” during a December 2018 massage at the Houstonian hotel.
She alleged Watson paid her $300 for her services, “although her normal charge was $115 for an hour massage,” according to the lawsuit.
But according to the court filings, the woman had her allegations “considered — and ultimately rejected” by Houston police, who interviewed her as early as April 2021. During a statement the woman made in November 2021 to a paralegal at the law firm of Rusty Hardin, Watson’s Houston-based attorney, the woman said: “I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t intimidated. I didn’t do anything I didn’t want to do. I didn’t do anything to where I didn’t feel like it was safe,” according to the court filings.
The woman’s lawsuit was the 26th known civil case filed against Watson, accusing him of inappropriate sexual misconduct or sexual assault during massage sessions.
In court filings Monday, attorneys for Watson submitted numerous exhibits which suggest the woman was interested in a relationship with Watson.
“I would love to be in love, and to love him. … I don’t want to put criminal charges on him. It wasn’t criminal. We were in there playing around and that was it,” the woman told a paralegal in Hardin’s firm, according to the court filing.
Monday’s court filings also include several direct messages the woman sent to Watson in the months after their December 2018 encounter.
“I’d like to see you again [sic] We should hang out,” the woman wrote to Watson 11 days after their massage session.
“Can you invest in me?” the woman asked Watson in another direct message.
Several months later, the woman then went on to make what appeared to be a sexually explicit offer to Watson.
“This evidence undeniably establishes that while this may be a case of unrequited love, under no stretch of the imagination is this a case of assault,” Watson’s attorneys wrote in a motion filed Monday seeking sanctions against the plaintiff’s attorney.
Watson is currently serving an 11-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. On Aug. 18, the NFL and NFL Players Association reached a settlement on Watson’s suspension. He was also fined $5 million and has had to undergo a mandatory treatment program.
At the NFL’s fall meeting in New York, commissioner Roger Goodell said he was satisfied Watson had followed the terms of his suspension agreement.
“As far as any additional [allegations], we obviously will follow all of those,” Goodell said. “If there’s new information, we’ll take that into consideration, but we’ll see as time goes on.”
Two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year. Sue L. Robinson, an independent arbiter jointly appointed by the league and players’ union, found that “the NFL carried its burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Mr. Watson engaged in sexual assault.”
Robinson concluded in her report that Watson’s behavior was “egregious” and “predatory.”
While recently allowed to reenter the Browns training facility for the first time since being suspended since Aug. 30 as part of the settlement, Watson can’t practice with the team again until Nov. 14 and won’t be eligible to play until Week 13, when the Browns travel to face his former team, the Texans in Houston on Dec. 4.