HOUSTON — On Monday, a Harris County judge ruled that Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson can be deposed in nine of the 22 civil cases filed against him with allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.
The nine women about whom Watson can be questioned under oath have not filed a criminal complaint against Watson and have all given their depositions in the cases.
The Monday hearing was held after Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, filed a motion to delay Watson’s deposition until after April 1. Hardin argued in the hearing that by delaying Watson’s deposition — which originally was allowed to take place this week — would allow Watson’s legal team to take depositions for all 22 of the women who have filed civil lawsuits.
Perhaps most interestingly, he also said that he believes the Harris County District Attorney will likely decide by April 1 whether Watson will be criminally charged.
Watson’s legal situation, of course, is being watched closely by teams around the NFL that are interested in trading for the 26-year-old quarterback.
More than a year ago, Watson requested a trade from the Texans because he didn’t like the direction of the franchise after the McNair family hired general manager Nick Caserio. As a result, Watson did not play a down for the Texans last season — even though he was on the active roster.
The Texans could agree to a trade for Watson at any point, but it cannot be made official until the start of the new league year at 4 p.m. ET on March 16.
Unless Watson and the 22 plaintiffs settle the civil lawsuits, a pre-trial conference is scheduled for early May, according to court documents. If the criminal investigation is concluded by April 1, it would provide more clarity for teams interested in trading for the quarterback before the draft (April 28-30) — vital for any trade that would include draft picks.
While the ruling by Judge Rabeea Collier is important in the proceedings for the civil cases, ultimately, the belief by Hardin that the criminal investigation will conclude “in weeks, not months,” could provide clarity to teams on whether Watson will be traded this offseason.
Source : ESPN