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Deshaun Watson settles 20 of 24 sexual misconduct cases against him, women's lawyer says

Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, says all but four cases against the Cleveland Browns quarterback have been settled and will be dismissed.
Image: Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field after the Cleveland Browns OTAs at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on May 25, 2022 in Berea, Ohio.Nick Cammett / Getty Images file

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached confidential settlements with all but four women who accused him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions, the women’s lawyer said Tuesday.

“Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled. We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed,” attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing the plaintiffs in the case, said in a statement to NBC News. 

“The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won’t comment further on the settlements or those cases.”In March, the Browns introduced Watson as their quarterback after he previously played for the Houston Texans. He signed a five-year, $230 million contract with Cleveland.

In his statement, Buzbee gave credit to plaintiff Ashley Solis, who was the first to come forward and accuse Watson of sexual misconduct. Solis' case remains one of four unsettled cases.

Buzbee said of the open cases: "Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story. Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue. I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court’s schedule.”

Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women in civil lawsuits.

They alleged that Watson improperly touched them after hiring them as massage therapists and personal trainers. 

A grand jury near Houston declined to indict Watson on sexual misconduct allegations, officials have said. It was the second such panel in March to decline charges against him. The district attorneys in both instances did not elaborate on why the grand juries declined to indict. 

Watson has denied any wrongdoing.

His attorney, Rusty Hardin, said earlier this month in a statement: "Deshaun Watson did nothing wrong. And as two grand juries have made clear, Deshaun did nothing illegal."

"Deshaun has always acknowledged consensual sexual activity with three of the plaintiff massage therapists after massages. And Deshaun has repeatedly sworn under oath that he did not force any of his accusers to have sexual contact."

Hardin could not be immediately reached Tuesday afternoon for comment.

Watson is also being investigated by the NFL and faces a potential suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

An NFL spokesperson said Tuesday in an email the league does not have a timeline for when it expects to complete its investigation into Watson.

“Today’s development has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process. The matter remains under review of the personal conduct policy,” the spokesperson said.