Two weeks ago, a Harris County grand jury declined to charge Watson over allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct.
Harris County division chief of adult sex crimes and trafficking Johna Stallings said after court they presented nine criminal complaints but the grand jury chose not to indict the NFL star. Prosecutors presented evidence and interviewed witnesses for more than six hours.
“We respect the grand jury’s decision,” she said, adding it concludes the criminal proceedings in Harris County.
Following that decision, Watson said justice was served.
“It’s definitely a very emotional moment for me. I know we’re far from being done of handling what we need to handle (legally),” Watson said then. “I thank my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, for letting the truth be heard.”
The quarterback said at the time he was ready to get back on the field.
Watson still faces 22 civil lawsuits, many alleging sexual assault and misconduct.
Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lead attorney, said in a statement he is “delighted” with the grand jury’s decision.
“Deshaun Watson did not commit any crimes and is not guilty of any offenses. Now that the criminal investigations have been completed, we are happy to move forward with the civil case depositions,” Hardin said. “We will vigorously defend those cases with every ounce we have.”
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the 22 women who have filed civil claims against Watson, said criminal cases are separate from civil cases.
“The civil cases will continue to gather steam. We take Mr. Watson’s depo again Tuesday,” Buzbee said in an email. “We have to respect the process.”
Watson is an NFL superstar, having been selected for three Pro Bowls in his five seasons with the Houston Texans. He did not play during the 2021 season because of the investigations into the allegations.
According to the Spotrac website, Watson signed a four-year, $156 million contract in 2020, and then signed a five-year, $230 million contract with the Browns.