Attorney at center of Deshaun Watson litigation says he won’t turn over information to Houston police

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·NFL columnist
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HOUSTON — The attorney at the center of the currently 19 civil suits against Deshaun Watson indicated on Tuesday night that the alleged victims will not be filing formal criminal complaints against the Houston Texans quarterback — but “will go elsewhere to provide our evidence to investigative authorities."

That’s a reversal for attorney Tony Buzbee, who previously claimed to be in contact with an acquaintance inside the Houston Police Department and said he would be preparing information to submit to authorities regarding the alleged assaults and sexual misconduct in a mounting stack of litigation. But in a Tuesday Instagram post — which has been Buzbee’s chosen method to release information — the attorney claimed to be concerned over critical statements he made about a former Houston police chief during his failed mayoral bid in 2019.

From Buzbee’s statement, which also claims that two more suits have been filed (which would bring the total to 21):

“Our team has been roundly criticized because these numerous brave women haven’t filed formal criminal complaints with HPD (although we have provided info to other organizations.) Here is my worry: When I ran for Houston mayor against the CURRENT mayor, I called for the resignation of the former police chief. I was thus reluctant initially in these important cases to provide info to HPD, at least while Art Acevedo was the Police Chief — even though my brother in law is a long-term HPD officer. Mr. Acevedo has now left Houston for Miami. Yet, I’ve since learned that my legal opponent, Mr. Hardin, has a son who is on [sic] of the exclusive Command Staff of HPD. I am not saying in any way that Deshaun Watson’s lawyer, Mr. Hardin, has a son who has a position that would compromise HPD and its investigation. I support his service, along with all Houston police officers — I think the rank and file know that. But, I am saying that me and my clients will go elsewhere to provide our evidence to investigative authorities. Stand by.”

The two additional suits were not yet available to the public late Tuesday night. But Buzbee’s statement raises multiple questions moving forward — chief among them why Buzbee initially intended to turn over information to the Houston Police Department when the concerns he highlights existed prior to the filing of his first suit. Another question is where Buzbee will now go to provide evidence to “investigative authorities” and whether those authorities have any criminal jurisdiction over the suits, Watson or the alleged victims.

And finally: When Buzbee states “we have provided info to other organizations,” what organizations is he referring to? Is one of them the NFL, which has launched its own investigation and has contacted Buzbee? All of these will be pressing questions for not only Watson’s camp, but also the Texans and other NFL teams, which have continued to follow along with the filings as the prospect of a Watson trade — among many other pressing issues — continues to hang in the balance.

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