HOUSTON – A judge on Friday ordered the release of one of 22 women who have filed lawsuits accusing Houston, Texas attorney Deshaun Watson of sexual harassment.
Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, has called for all women sued by Do Ein Do to be publicly identified so that their client “has the opportunity to be properly protected.” Hardin called the lawsuits against Watson “unworthy” because the NFL player “did not force, coerce or intimidate anyone into doing anything against their will”.
During one of the lawsuits, Hardin accused Tony Busby, a lawyer representing 22 women, of using his anonymity to “kill the reputation of our client.”
“Mr. Busby, who was hiding behind this anonymity, tried to examine this case in the court of public opinion, and not in court.” “Busby uses the plaintiff’s anonymity as a sword, not a shield,” Hardin said in court documents this week. ,
But Buzzin asked District Judge Dedra Davis to keep the woman’s name secret, arguing that such actions were common in sexual assault cases. Busbin told Davis that another woman, who had decided to be named publicly earlier this week, had already received death threats.
In a case heard Friday morning, Busby asked to name Hardin Հ his legal team, but they should not disclose his identity.
Davis disagreed, saying that Busby’s legal team could gain an unfair advantage in the case because of his use of media coverage.
“We need a balance of interests. “A balance of interests is needed for both sides,” Davis said after a brief hearing. The judge ordered that the woman’s lawsuit, which bore her name, be dropped within two days.
Late Friday night, another judge was appointed to hear similar requests from Hardin to find the names of Watson’s accusers in the other 12 lawsuits.
Twenty-two women have accused Watson of exposing himself, touching his penis or kissing against their will while undressing. At least one woman claims that Watson forced her to have oral sex during a massage in December. All of the women who sued Watson are either licensed massage therapists or work in a spa or similar business. The first lawsuit was filed on March 16, and the latest on Monday.
The first woman to file a lawsuit, Ashley Solis, spoke publicly on Tuesday, claiming that she was horrified by her meeting with Watson, that she was suffering from panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and that she was no longer comfortable working as a massage therapist. The Associated Press usually does not name the victims of sexual harassment, but Solis preferred to reveal his public identity.
Houston police and the NFL have said they are investigating allegations against Watson.
In a recent e-mail to season ticket holders, Texans president Cal McNair, whose family’s team is aware of the lawsuits against Watson, said the team “takes these allegations very seriously.”
Nike has terminated its approval contract with Watson against the charges against it.
Watson is one of the best midfielders in the league, having led the NFL in the backyards last season. He signed a four-year, $ 156 million contract extension with the Texas last season, but he was unhappy with the direction of the team as Houston fell 4-12. Watson asked to trade in January.
Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70