Deshaun Watson agrees to settle 20 of 24 civil lawsuits

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached settlement agreements in 20 of 24 active civil lawsuits filed against him by women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, the women’s attorney announced Tuesday.

Attorney Anthony Buzbee called the settlement terms confidential and said he expects the remaining four lawsuits to be resolved in court.

“Today I am announcing that all but four cases against Deshaun Watson are resolved,” Buzbee said in a written statement. “We are working on the documents related to these regulations. Once we do, those special cases will be discarded. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We will not comment further on the settlements or these cases.

Watson has not been charged with a crime. He still faces potential suspension by the NFL under his personal conduct policy.

“Today’s development has no impact on the collectively negotiated disciplinary process,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Watson and his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, have denied the allegations.

Of the remaining civil lawsuits, Buzbee said, “I look forward to trying these cases in a timely manner consistent with the other obligations of the docket and the court’s schedule.”

NFL to plead for ‘meaningful’ suspension of Deshaun Watson

The allegations made against Watson by the women include making inappropriate comments, exposing himself and forcing his penis on the women’s hands during massage therapy sessions.

Hardin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve been honest and told the truth about my position,” Watson told reporters last week during a Browns offseason practice. “And that is: I never forced anyone. I have never assaulted anyone. …I’ve been saying that from the start. And I will continue to do so. Until all the facts are revealed on a legal level, I must continue to follow the process of my legal team and the court. »

Watson had given no public indication last week that he was interested in settling the lawsuits.

“As I said, I just want to clear my name and be able to let the facts and the legal proceedings continue to unfold,” he said then. “So right now that’s all I’m doing is wanting to clear my name and being able to let all the facts come out in court and being able to focus on that.”

The NFL plans to argue with the new sports disciplinary officer that Watson should receive a “meaningful” suspension for violating the personal conduct policy, multiple people familiar with the matter said Friday. The suspension the league is asking Watson could be around a full season, one such person said.

The NFL is to report the findings of its investigation to Sue L. Robinson, the former U.S. District Judge who is the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players Association under the current version of the conduct policy.

It was unclear on Tuesday whether the case had been formally presented to Robinson.

The league hopes the entire disciplinary process, including the resolution of any potential appeals to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone designate by him, will be completed by the start of training camp, said said a person familiar with the matter on Friday. The Browns are scheduled to hold their opener of training camp on July 27.

“As far as the league and its decision, we have to respect that and let them do their process and complete their investigation and report,” Watson said last week. “And like I said before, I spoke to the league. I was honest and told them honestly all the questions they asked. So I can’t really have [any] control over it.

Buzbee said in an email Monday that he and his clients had no ongoing involvement in the NFL’s disciplinary process beyond interviews some of the women conducted last year with league officials.

“Anything the NFL does or omits to do has no bearing on civil matters,” Buzbee said in Monday’s email.

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