The FBI is involved in an investigation surrounding sexual assault allegations against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, but not for the reason you may think.
According to Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, the feds are looking into the allegations of extortion by one of the football player’s 23 accusers, 22 of whom have active lawsuits against him.
“In April, the FBI came to us and told us they were investigating a matter as to whether one of Mr. [Tony] Buzbee’s clients had committed extortion in the way they were demanding money from Deshaun or what they would do if they didn’t pay it,” Hardin said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“We were not the ones who contacted them; they contacted us. We talked to [the FBI],” he said. “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 thinks that the feds are investigations that Buzbee made in his lawsuits against Watson, after the lawyer told the League of Justice website last week that the FBI met with him to discuss the quarterback and had spoken to several of his accusers.
“I don’t think they’re investigating Deshaun,” Hardin said. “What they’re investigating is the allegations Buzbee has made in his lawsuits. I didn’t know about that until yesterday, and then I checked it out and it’s true. They are.”
Hardin alleged that one of the alleged victims has been attempting to extort Watson via text message, and he knows “Deshaun has done absolutely nothing wrong.”
He said Watson will “continue to cooperate” with the FBI, just as he has with the Houston Police Department, district attorney’s office, and eventually will with the NFL down the line.
“The NFL regularly tries to not reach out to the defendant and his lawyers and seek evidence from them until the criminal investigation is over,” Hardin concluded. “Historically, they want to make sure they don’t interfere with the criminal investigation. I have had no contact with the NFL except to call initially and say, whenever the time is appropriate, we will fully cooperate.”