A Texas Grand Jury Is Considering Another Charge Against Deshaun Watson

A grand jury in Brazoria County in Texas is considering evidence related to a 10th accusation of sexual misconduct against Deshaun Watson, the former Houston Texans quarterback who was traded to the Cleveland Browns just days ago, according to a lawyer for the complainant.

A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, where Houston is, rejected nine criminal cases against Watson earlier this month. But a 10th criminal complaint filed with the Houston Police Department described an alleged incident outside the jurisdiction of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

The case, in Brazoria County, south of Houston, is the last criminal case pending against Watson. The complainant told police that Watson ejaculated on her in a November 2020 massage appointment. Her lawyer, Tony Buzbee, said he expects the grand jury to deliberate and issue a decision on Thursday or Friday. Neither the Browns nor Rusty Hardin, Watson’s lawyer, were immediately available for comment.

The latest grand jury proceeding was first reported by Fox 8 WJW in Cleveland.

The publicly available police report was heavily redacted but said that the complainant told police that Watson “touched her with his penis and ejaculated causing semen to touch her arm and hand.”

The complainant, whose name was redacted in the criminal complaint, is one of the 22 plaintiffs who are suing Watson in civil court for sexual misconduct during massage appointments.

Watson has denied all wrongdoing, and Hardin has said that any sexual acts that occurred during massage appointments were consensual.

After the grand jury in Harris County declined to bring charges on March 11, Hardin said in a statement that “the criminal investigations have been completed.” NFL teams viewed the decision in Harris County as a green light to pursue Watson via trade, and the Browns gave Watson a guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract, a record for a guaranteed deal. They structured the deal to mitigate Watson’s financial penalty if the NFL suspends him for a violation of its personal-conduct policy by setting his 2022 base salary at just over $1 million, minimizing each potential missed game check.

The Browns said in a statement on Sunday that they undertook a “comprehensive evaluation process” before trading for Watson and did “extensive” investigative, legal and reference work. The statement acknowledged that “some legal proceedings” were still ongoing, but it was unclear whether the Browns were aware that a case would be brought before the Brazoria County grand jury this week.

The NFL’s investigation into the allegations against Watson is ongoing. A person who identified himself as a security representative for the NFL requested information from the Houston Police Department on March 15, including witness statements and phone records or social-media messages, and also asked for interviews with the police investigators who worked the case, according to police records.

Watson invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in civil depositions given before the decision by the Harris County grand jury, but waived that right and answered questions under oath in depositions last week and this week, Buzbee said.

Before the deal with the Browns, Watson also met with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints last week.

Kevin Draper contributed reporting.

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