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Deshaun Watson deposition delay (partly) denied

Sportsnaut
Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The 22 civil cases brought against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson got underway Monday, as lawyers from both sides argued over the timing of Watson’s deposition.

Watson is accused of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions, both in civil court among all of the 22 women who have brought suit, as well as in criminal court, where he faces complaints from some of those same women and faces the possibility of criminal charges.

Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, argued that with a possible criminal case pending, a delay could prevent Watson from incriminating himself. According to reports, the date sought was April 1, when the grand jury is expected to be ready to either bring criminal charges or not.

The women’s attorney, Tony Buzbee, wanted a speedier timeline.

“The obligation of the lawyer is to protect the client and while there is a criminal investigation going on, it is only fair to wait to see whether it results in charges or it doesn’t before deciding whether you’re going to submit somebody for depositions,” Hardin told reporters Monday.

The judge presiding over the case ruled Monday that Watson can be questioned under oath only pertaining to allegations levied by the women who have not filed a criminal complaint.

What that means for Watson is that while he can delay any testimony pertaining to the alleged victims in a potential criminal case, opposing lawyers in that case could still draw from the testimony relating to the women involved in the civil cases.

The lingering situation won’t likely help Watson, a subject of trade rumors for months, settle on any future NFL destination. Likewise, the NFL is watching the case and conducting its own investigation into whether league discipline might be appropriate.

Watson, 26, sat out the entire 2021 season.

–Field Level Media