The lawyer for Deshaun Watson’s sexual assault accusers must identify the name of a woman who made claims against the NFL star, a Texas judge ruled Friday morning.
The ruling from Judge Dedra Davi, came a day after Watson’s lawyer Rusty Hardin filed a special exemption asking a judge to unmask “Jane Doe” in the suits against the Houston Texans quarterback. Davis ruled the woman must refile the suit and identify herself.
Only two of the women in the 22 lawsuits filed against Watson have been publicly identified.
Hardin announced he filed the motion Thursday and hit out at the accusers’ attorney, Tony Buzbee, in the process.
“We have said this before and we want to say it again: Deshaun did not force, coerce or intimidate anyone to do anything against their will. When we asked Mr. Buzbee to identify his clients weeks ago, he refused and told us to file a motion,” Hardin said.
“Today we filed that motion. As discussed in our filing, Mr. Buzbee’s use of anonymous lawsuits violates Texas law and the basic concept of fairness. It is clear that, for Mr. Buzbee, this case has never been about seeking justice in a courtroom, but destroying Deshaun’s reputation to enhance his own public profile and enrich himself. While I understand that anonymity often is used as a shield for victims, Mr. Buzbee is using it as a sword. While shielding his clients from public scrutiny, Mr. Buzbee continues to use their anonymous allegations to destroy Mr. Watson. This is simply not right. And we look forward to resolving these matters in court.”
In the motion, obtained by Fox News, Watson’s lawyer argues Texas law does not permit the accusers to file “civil claims using a pseudonym nor should it in this case.”
Hardin said in the motion that Buzbee is attempting to “try this case in the court of public opinion rather than the court of law.”
Watson is facing 22 lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct. Two women were unmasked this week. Ashley Solis talked at a press conference about Watson’s alleged actions. Another attorney read a letter from Lauren Baxley.
According to ESPN, a similar hearing regarding 12 other cases will happen Friday in the 113th District Court. Friday morning’s ruling was made in the 270th District Court.