During an exclusive interview with legal expert Amy Dash, Tony Buzbee, the Houston-based attorney who is representing all 22 women accusing NFL superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault and harassment, says the case is now being investigated by the FBI.
Buzbee told the League of Justice founder, Dash, who also provides legal analysis for Fox Sports Radio and CBS Sports, that he has met with the FBI multiple times, including a meeting that was as recent as one week ago.
“They contacted me and I’ve met with them three times now and now they’ve met with several of the plaintiffs in the case,” Buzbee told Dash by phone on Friday. “Let’s be clear, when somebody comes into your office on the 73rd floor of the Chase Tower, whether they’re the FDA or the FBI, it’s a big deal. Well, it was the FBI.”
Buzbee says he has met with the FBI three times now, and they have also spoken to ‘several’ other plaintiffs in the case, telling Dash the agents found the women's statements ‘very compelling and very persuasive.’ He told Dash that the agency has assured him they’re taking the allegations ‘very seriously.’
Dash told Fox Sports Radio on Monday that there will be subpoenas handed out in a grand jury investigation that is allegedly going to be headed by the Human Trafficking Unit of the District Attorney’s office.
“Watson’s attorney is saying that he doesn’t believe Watson will be subpoenaed to testify, so then the grand jury will just decide whether they feel there’s enough evidence to bring felony charges. If there is in fact a grand jury investigation that means that they’re deciding upon felony charges… What it really means is that the prosecutor is going there and asking for felony charges. The prosecutor feels he/she has enough from the police department to try to bring felony charges against Deshaun Watson and it’s going to be a decision made by this grand jury.”
Dash elaborated to Chris Broussard and Rob Parker on ‘The Odd Couple’ what exactly ‘human trafficking’ charges would entail:
“Trafficking’, even though it sounds like you have to 'transport' actually has many different definitions. You can meet the element of ‘trafficking’ by recruiting. You don’t have to ‘transport’, he could solicit and he could recruit them to come. They think they’re coming to do a job for example, like a massage, but the underlying purpose of that recruitment is that he wants to sexually exploit them. He wants them to commit a sex act and they don’t know it but he knows it. If in fact he gave money to somebody and solicited them and recruited them, and used some sort of force, or coercion, or imbalance of power where he had more power and they were feeling threatened or intimidated, or that they would be harmed – not just physically but that their reputation would be harmed, and they would be financially harmed – that could also fall under human trafficking.”
Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin responded on Wednesday with a 19-minute press conference pushing back at the onslaught from Buzbee, saying Watson had already talked to the FBI in April.
“We were not the ones who contacted them; they contacted us. We talked to [the FBI]. We even let them interview Deshaun -- and if y'all can find a lawyer that will let his client talk to the FBI if the lawyer had thought his client had done anything wrong or had any exposure, then I'll be very, very surprised."
Hardin threw in this zinger for good measure, “I can only conclude that Mr. Buzbee’s knowledge of the criminal justice system and the way it works, probably if you put it in a thimble, there would be a lot of room left.”
Public potshots between Hardin, Buzbee, and Watson have been common in this ongoing saga. Last month Buzbee took an obvious gripe at Watson in an Instagram post late July saying that he had recently gotten a massage at a hotel resort during his honeymoon in Greece, but then added in the caption 'it was professional; I made no weird demands, I didn’t grind around on the table, I never fully disrobed, and I never acted like an entitled, horny, teenage boy.'
Buzbee told Dash last month that the chances of Watson settling the case with his accusers were ‘highly unlikely.'
Dash: “I spoke to Tony Buzbee directly and I said ‘what are the chances of a settlement happening here?’ and he said it’s ‘highly unlikely’ because there are 22 different women, and they all have a different orientation in terms of how they want justice to play out for themselves, he said. Even if a couple of them wanted to settle and they felt that they could be made ‘whole’ with monetary compensation, there are also still terms that would need to be negotiated, and as we’ve heard through reports – whether it’s true or not – there’s been some disagreements over the types of provisions that would be attached to a settlement, meaning that Deshaun Watson may not want to have to admit to doing certain things. He might want to protect his reputation or there be a confidentiality clause and that might conflict with what some of these other women might want publicly."
Hardin says that the NFL has yet to speak with Watson regarding the ongoing case.
Watson reported to Texans training camp last week and has been seen in uniform during practices, but he did not make an appearance in the Texans’ preseason opener vs. Green Bay in which they won 26-7.