According to their attorney, Tony Buzbee, about a year after accusations of sexual misconduct against Deshaun Watson were first made public, three women who filed criminal charges against him have been summoned to testify before a grand jury on Friday.
According to Houston police records, ten women filed criminal charges against Watson, the Houston Texans quarterback, last year, accusing him of sexual assault during massage sessions. Watson has denied the allegations. However, despite the fact that the accusations were substantially censored, they included activities such as Watson exposing himself, stroking therapists’ hands with his penis, and ejaculating on them, among other things. Specifically, three of the allegations claim sexual assault or attempted sexual assault, which are both classified as nonconsensual penetration under Texas law. prosecutors are likely to bring at least some of these instances to a grand jury, which will determine whether or not criminal charges against Watson will be filed against him.
Search warrants issued in October in connection with the Houston police investigation, seeking access to social media and Cash App accounts police allege Watson used to book and pay for massages, identified indecent assault as the crime under investigation. The warrants sought access to the accounts police allege Watson used to book and pay for massages. In Texas, indecent assault is a class A misdemeanour punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000, but sexual assault is a second-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum punishment of $10,000.
In his denial of any misconduct, Watson has raised the possibility that the grand jury may choose not to prosecute him for any crime. Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said on Tuesday that he was “delighted” that the grand jury was going to convene since those issues had been hanging over Watson’s head for far too long. In the meanwhile, he is expecting that the grand jury will reach a conclusion about Watson on Friday afternoon.
The district attorney’s office for Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, did not immediately respond to queries requesting comment on the matter.
Watson will be questioned under oath for some of the 22 civil lawsuits filed against him on the same day that grand jury procedures are expected to begin, according to Buzbee. Eight of the ten women who filed criminal charges are also involved in a civil lawsuit, although Watson will not be called as a witness in those instances until later. Hardin requested that Watson’s deposition be postponed until until April 1. However, a court determined last month that Watson’s depositions may be taken in nine civil cases in which the plaintiffs had already given their depositions and had not filed criminal charges, allowing the depositions to continue.
“It will be a pointless exercise,” Hardin said of Watson’s deposition on Friday, noting that he would urge Watson to use his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.
During a massage treatment at her home on March 30, 2020, Ashley Solis, a 28-year-old certified massage therapist, filed the first civil claim against Watson this spring, alleging that he purposefully touched her hand with his erect and exposed penis. She went to the police and filed a complaint at the beginning of April 2021. Given that minor offences in Texas are barred from being prosecuted for two years after they are committed, the deadline for filing charges against Watson in connection with Solis’s case is at the end of this month.
One of the ten criminal charges filed with the Houston Police Department has already past the statute of limitations, a case of indecent assault that occurred in the spring of 2019. Another incident occurred outside of Harris County and would fall under the jurisdiction of a separate prosecutor.
Complainants who get a subpoena are in the dark as to whether the prosecutor will be presenting their case before a grand jury or if they will be summoned in as a witness in a different case altogether. He stated he was aware of at least six customers who had been subpoenaed by the government.
Watson has not appeared in a National Football League game since January 2021. He was eligible to play during the 2021 season, but he did not participate since he was attempting to trade with the Texans.