Deshaun Watson Settles 20 of the 24 Sexual Misconduct Cases Against Him

This article will be updated.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached settlements with 20 of the 24 women who have filed sexual misconduct lawsuits against him, attorney Tony Buzbee announced Tuesday morning. In a statement, Buzbee, who represents Watson’s accusers, said the terms and amounts of the settlements were confidential and those cases would be dismissed once finalized.

The first public allegation against Watson of sexual misconduct during a massage date was made in March 2021, leading to a flurry of lawsuits from other women. Buzbee said Ashley Solis, who filed the original lawsuit, was one of four women who didn’t settle.

The charges against Watson involved massage appointments he had while playing for the Houston Texans. He was transferred to Cleveland in March after a Harris County, Texas grand jury declined to indict him on criminal charges. The Browns gave Watson an unprecedented, fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million contract.

But Watson has faced additional pressure in recent weeks, with two new women suing him. Buzbee also said he plans to add the Texans as a defendant after a New York Times investigation showed the team provided the location Watson used for some of the meetups and provided him with a non-disclosure agreement. On Tuesday, Buzbee had not added the Texans to the suits, and it was unclear if the team had gone to the colonies. The Texans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The settlements come as the NFL considers sanctioning Watson as part of its personal conduct policy. League investigators interviewed Watson for four days last month, usually one of the last steps in the process. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the settlements had “no impact on the collectively negotiated disciplinary process.”

Buzbee called Ashley Solis “one of the heroes of this story.” In her lawsuit, Solis said Watson deliberately touched her with his exposed, erect penis during a massage appointment in March 2020. Watson admitted in a deposition that Solis became “tears in his eyes.” and after she left he apologized via text message to make her feel “uncomfortable”. Solis reached out to industry colleagues as well as lawyers for advice on how to respond to what had happened, and in December 2020 she was put in touch with Buzbee’s law firm.

“Without Ashley Solis, the conduct experienced by these women likely would have continued unhindered,” Buzbee said in the statement. He added that he looked forward to trying the cases of Solis and the three other women who did not settle “in due time”.

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