At a press conference April 9, Rusty Hardin said he and his team deeply believe in their client Deshaun Watson and know he did nothing wrong despite the flurry of anonymous lawsuits against him. He said Mr. Watson does not deserve the attack on his sterling reputation and that this case is an example of a new kind of extortion using social media and salacious innuendo.
Mr. Hardin and his team of lawyers asked the media to try to allow for due process and to treat both sides fairly. He said the presumption of innocence due to Mr. Watson has been erased in a firestorm of accusations that could not be answered because they were all made anonymously.
“It’s only fair to ask can’t we at least move the needle back to the middle?” Mr. Hardin said. He said he is not attacking the media coverage because he chose not to respond to the lawsuit allegations until he discovered the identity of the accusers. This meant throughout this entire event thus far, the media was only able to hear one side.
On April 9, several judges told the plaintiffs to amend their petitions with the names of the people suing as is required by Texas law. Other judges will likely tackle the issue in the remaining cases next week.
Mr. Hardin also asked those who support Mr. Watson to leave those accusing him in these lawsuits alone. He said they should not be harassed, they have a right to sue, and Mr. Watson has a right to respond.
Letitia Quinones, a lawyer with Mr. Hardin’s firm and who spent days interviewing Watson, said she hopes “the Deshaun Watson case is not the case where due process goes to die.” She said it distresses her to see a young man who has done everything right be attacked this way with people willing to jump on the bandwagon against him before he has a chance to even know who is accusing him and explain his side.
She said he is a hardworking man of good character who would want people to know that his mother raised him to be a respectable young man who would never mistreat women.
Rachel Lewis, another Hardin firm lawyer who spent days interviewing Mr. Watson, said she is positive Mr. Watson is not capable of the allegations against him. “His name is something he has worked hard for,” she said. She said if people let the legal process play out, everyone will know what she and her fellow lawyers know about Watson’s exemplary character and that he is incapable of doing what is alleged.
Two other lawyers in the Hardin firm, Leah Graham and Lara Hollingsworth, echoed the idea that there is another side to this story, and it can be told best on the even playing field of the courts.