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If the Houston Police Department or Harris County District Attorney move to investigate sexual misconduct civil suits currently pending against Deshaun Watson, the Houston Texans quarterback would be made available to cooperate with authorities, according to Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin.
That declaration was made by Hardin on Thursday, after the counsel for the 21 women who have filed the civil suits reversed course earlier in the week and declared he would not be turning information over to the Houston Police Department.
Lawyer Tony Buzbee, who is representing the alleged victims at the center of the suits, now says he is apprehensive about turning over information to the HPD due to past statements he had made criticizing outgoing police chief Art Acevedo. Buzbee had previously stated he would turn over information to Houston authorities and seek to impanel a grand jury that could weigh potential charges against Watson.
Buzbee’s change of course and explanation drew the ire of Acevedo, who tweeted that any apprehension about the HPD on Buzbee’s part was “baseless." Acevedo, who is leaving Houston to take over as the chief of police in Miami, added: “We stand ready to investigate all allegations.”
If that invitation from Acevedo wasn’t enough to motivate Buzbee to follow through on his previous statement, Hardin took it even further on Thursday, essentially suggesting that Buzbee was declining to turn over information to police because it would ultimately invalidate the lawsuits he has filed against Watson. Hardin added that Watson would cooperate if any investigation were launched.
Hardin’s statement, in full:
“Since March 19, Mr. Tony Buzbee has repeatedly promised to submit evidence to the Houston Police Department in support of his anonymous clients’ complaints against Deshaun Watson. So far, he has not done so. Now, in response to media inquiries, Mr. Buzbee has abandoned his promise altogether and, in his words, will go 'elsewhere to provide his evidence to investigative authorities.'
“His latest excuse for failing to go to law enforcement is also his lamest. Anyone who has dealt with HPD, as I have for many years, would know that Mr. Buzbee’s suggestion that the Department would overlook legitimate complaints based upon a family connection of one of its officers is ludicrous. It is also insulting to the dedicated professionals at HPD and to common sense. Mr. Buzbee’s claimed fear of HPD’s partiality is inconsistent with his prior praise for the Department’s response to the burglary of his home during his recent mayoral campaign. See Exhibit 1 below.
“I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Buzbee’s failure to go to law enforcement does not result from some baseless fear that HPD will not fairly investigate. Instead, it is from the knowledge that his parade of anonymous allegations could not survive the rigorous inquiry of trained investigators or the need to attest to the truth of the allegations under oath.
“For our part, we will continue to learn about the cases in any way that we can. We and Deshaun will always remain available to any law enforcement or regulatory agency who desires our cooperation.
“Apparently, Mr. Buzbee is unwilling to do the same.”
As of Thursday night, Buzbee had not responded to Hardin’s statement.
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