A lawyer representing the women who accused Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct fired back at claims from the NFL star’s attorney, who said one woman, Ashley Solis, demanded “hush money” before filing her civil lawsuit.
Tony Buzbee snapped back at Rusty Hardin over the claim and posted an email he wrote to Scott Gaffield, the General Counsel at the Athletes First agency in California, on Instagram.
“The latest and ever-changing Watson defense is that our legal team is somehow compromised because we tried to settle or resolve issues with one client before putting all of these women through the current media circus we knew would result, because the alleged perpetrator is a famous quarterback. I can and have confirmed we tried to resolve these issues without a lawsuit. That fact was public knowledge almost three weeks ago. We attempted to settle without fanfare or press,” Buzbee wrote.
“In fact, I’ve attached the last email we had with the Watson team before we filed the first lawsuit. This email was sent when we represented only one victim, before we represented what is now 23 women, alleging the same thing. The current back and forth reporting about the ego of the lawyers involved is not appropriate, or helpful. These cases are about those who were subject to the conduct alleged. Please review the video of Ashley Solis today, from the press conference; she had the courage to go in front of national media to tell her story. STRONG!! Now, that’s a hero! That’s who we should be talking about!”
The email from Buzbee to Gaffield was dated Feb. 19, 2021. The first sexual misconduct claim first surfaced on March 16.
“We made a legit demand. You rejected it,” the email read. “We won’t be making another or bid against ourselves. We also won’t be having an extended dialogue about why you think your client did nothing wrong or how you want this to be a ‘learning’ experience for your ‘high-profile athlete,’ as you refer to him. This is Houston, Texas. Perhaps you should find him a lawyer here so you can apprise both you and your client of the landscape here and who you are dealing with. Talk soon.”
Solis revealed herself to be Jane Doe No. 1 in a press conference on Tuesday. Solis claimed Watson exposed himself during a massage session in March 2020.
Hardin, in response to Solis’ statement, said he had emails to prove she was looking to get money out of Watson.
According to Hardin, rival attorney Buzbee – who represents nearly two dozen women who have come out against Watson – reached out to one of Watson’s representatives in February in an effort to “quietly settle the allegations the month before he filed the first lawsuit.”
In an email exchange obtained by Fox News, Buzbee’s associate Cornelia Brandfield-Harvey said, “My client’s demand is $100,000,” adding that “this offer remains open until Friday of this week.”
Gaffield responded to Buzbee and Brandfield-Harvey on Feb. 19 saying, “We don’t believe that the alleged facts show that Deshaun did anything wrong…”
“We believed then – and fully believe now – that Deshaun learned a lesson about putting himself in this type of situation by interacting with people he does not know,” Gaffield said in a statement.
“As the emails show, we were willing to continue discussions on Deshaun’s behalf to explore ways to prevent a lawsuit and a public spectacle. But Mr. Buzbee informed us that he was unwilling to do so. We expect that this matter will be resolved in court.”
The email communications occurred between Feb. 3 and Feb. 19.
Watson is not facing any criminal charges. Houston police launched an investigation into the allegations after a complaint was filed Friday.
Fox News’ Dan Canova contributed to this report.