Report: Evidence shows Tony Buzbee’s team initiating Deshaun Watson settlement talks
The sudden and unexpected puzzle of who took the first step to start settlement talks in the Deshaun Watson cases has been resolved.
Text messages and a record via Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com reveal that a member of Attorney Tony Buzbee's legal team reached out to Watson's legal team to discuss “drafting” related to the 22 pending lawsuits against Watson.
Buzbee has declined to reach out to Watson's legal team, led by Attorney Rusty Hardin, to discuss the settlement. Buzbee did not respond to emails from ESPN.com asking for comments on the existence of objective evidence contradicting his claim.
Regardless of the merits, the question is extremely relevant to perception. In matters like this, it is usually assumed that anyone who takes the first step is more motivated to settle down. This can be interpreted as an indication that the attorney has concerns about the case, especially if the request is made this early in the litigation.
Nevertheless, in Watson's case, there were good reasons to initiate settlement discussions at an early stage. Buzbee and its clients will have more leverage if cases are resolved in circumstances that allow Watson to be acted upon before the training camp begins. If the cases are resolved by then, there is a very good chance that this will happen.
As PFT reported on Friday, despite Buzbee's claim to the contrary, the Texans were not involved in the attempt to mediate settlement talks. A lawyer who once worked for Texas owner Cal McNair served as the liaison in efforts to resolve the cases.
Barshop's report also notes that Watson has not yet been interviewed by the NFL in connection with his investigation under the Personal Conduct Policy. This is normal in such situations. The defendant will be interviewed after all relevant information has been obtained from the prosecutors.
So far, the NFL has interviewed four of the 22 women, according to Buzbee. Buzbee has also said that "probably four more" want to speak to the league. When the NFL responded to Buzbee's concerns about the way the initial interviews were handled, it did not deny his claim that four of the plaintiffs had been interviewed.
Report: There is evidence that Tony Buzbee's team that initiated Deshaun Watson settlement talks originally appeared on Pro Football Talk
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