An attorney for Watson’s accusers says that the remaining four lawsuits are likely to proceed to trial.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reportedly settled 20 of the 24 civil misconduct lawsuits filed against him, most of which accused the star athlete of sexual assault and harassment.
According to CNN, attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing all of the plaintiffs, said that 20 of the lawsuits have been settled and will be dismissed after the agreements are signed and finalized.
“We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements,” Buzbee said in a statement. “Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won’t comment further on the settlements or those cases.”
Buzbee said that the other three lawsuits, filed by Watson’s first accuser, Ashley Solis, and three other women, are expected to proceed to trial “in due course.”
USA Today notes that the settlements will allow Watson to avoid several days of deposition testimony, which would have taken place this week.
The depositions will no longer take place.
Separately, N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell said in May that an internal investigation into Watson’s alleged misconduct is coming to an end. However, the league has yet to announce if and when it will release its findings.
“Today’s development has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process,” N.F.L. spokesperson Brian McCarthy said.
While Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, declined comment, the lawyer had previously insisted that Watson’s accusers saw the football player as an easy “payday.”
Hardin noted that the 26-year-old athlete, who was accused of exposing his genitals and soliciting multiple massage therapists for sex, was never arrested.
Watson also evaded charges after two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him.
Buzbee said that he looks forward to taking the rest of the cases to court.
“The cases against Deshaun Watson started with one phone call, from one brave and strong woman,” Buzbee said in a statement to USA Today. “That woman was Ashley Solis. At the time of that call she was just one of the hundreds of calls seeking legal assistance that our firm gets weekly. Even though she was originally turned away by our screening process, my staff insisted that I personally speak with her. I’m glad she persisted. Once we took a second look, and after having contact with Watson’s original lawyer who disrespected Ashley and her profession and who arrogantly minimized the conduct of someone he referred to as an ‘asset,’ I was convinced that our law firm should try to help her.”
“As a result of Ashley’s lone but brave voice, soon many women who had allegedly experienced the same conduct were emboldened to step forward. I am incredibly proud to represent them all. They have endured vile criticism and fanatical ignorance. They faced withering cross examination by skilled litigators and stood firm,” he added. “They are warriors all. Today we have an important announcement about these cases, but it is important to point out that, without Ashley Solis, the conduct experienced by these women would likely have continued unfettered. The truth is, without her courage and willingness to come forward, the NFL wouldn’t currently be contemplating discipline; there would be no examination of how teams might knowingly or unknowingly enable certain behavior; sports teams wouldn’t be reviewing their personnel screening processes; and this important story wouldn’t have dominated the sports headlines for more than a year.”