Watson's lawyer speaks after accusers' IDs ordered disclosed

In the next week, at least 14 of the Texans QB's accusers must identify themselves after hearings Friday.

Video Transcript

- This has been an incredible ordeal for for Deshaun. We toyed with the idea of having him here today. So I indicated to some people that he might be. And we made a decision just a little while ago that it really wouldn't add anything, because I wasn't going to allow him to answer any questions.

And I think most of y'all understand that. You got investigations going on and not just police departments have been asked to look at it, but the NFL. There may be other agencies that look at it. And my malpractice insurance wouldn't have me allowing him to talk right now, OK?

So if that was the case, then why else have him just sitting here listening to us talk about him? And but that is what we're going to do and about this case. I want to start out with you, then I'm going to ask some of the people that have been working on the case with me to offer some observations. But I think why they're really relevant is, you folks have heard a bunch-- or read a bunch of petitions.

You have read some salacious allegations. You've seen at least two conferences, press conferences by Mr. Buzbee. You seen, I think we counted 40 Facebook posts, 20 something Instagram posts and so on. A couple of press conferences. And we've been noticeably quiet.

Before I start with some observations and ask others, just so you know who's up here, let me-- So I'll start right here with Letitia Quinones. Letitia is a member of our firm, while also having her own firm. She's of counsel to our firm, because we do a lot of cases together and is a member of our firm.

She also has her own separate firm. And we have over the last two to three years not only become very close friends, but involved in a lot of cases together. Now you'll see she is listed as an of council member at our firm. Rachel Lewis is from LA.

By way of University of Virginia Law School. I mean, University of Virginia undergraduate, UCLA Law School, a couple of clerkships and has rapidly become in very short time an incredibly big asset to our firm. Laura Hollingsworth is as a partner in the firm. She's been with me and us for 19 years.

Now her husband used to be a partner in the firm. Now has his own practice. Has been intimately involved in this case with us from the beginning and is just a tremendous lawyer. Started out as of counsel when she was having three children and then came back to full time as a partner.

And then, if we look here to my right for a second is Leah Graham. Leah Graham has been is this eight? Maybe into the ninth your lawyer. Has been very, very involved in his case from the very beginning. And I wanted to go through those introductions, because I'm obviously surrounded by four women.

I wanted to make sure that you did not believe that we went out and hired women to be part of this case, because of the type of it. These are-- actually, we were trying to do the count. Our firm now as majority women. The partnerships, until we had one just leave and move to Canada were half and half women and men.

And these lawyers, these friends, these very independent people who make their own judgments have been involved in this from the beginning as we assessed Deshaun and his case. And so when I get through with my comments, I'm going to ask them to make some observations if they have them.

I don't know what any of them are going to say, but they have very strong feelings about not just what's going on, but about what kind of person Deshaun Watson is and what we've done to try to figure out what we believed happened without some type of blanket condemnation of the people that have sued us. But let me start out about you folks, the media. I don't think there's any secret in Houston that I've probably of the people I know, that have probably been the most provost, strongest advocate of what y'all do that I know.

Many of you have heard me say in other forms, in my lifetime professionally, first time I was probably ever quoted in '77. And I want the audience to know this. Because I don't join in the cynicism about the media.

Even when we get criticism, even when we don't want to answer the questions you want to ask, even when we get upset with an article or broadcast. The fact is, I've been doing this as far as publicly being asked questions by the media since 1977. I'm not happy about that figure, because you can do the math after that.

And since 1977, to this day as I stand here, I have never been misquoted. Not by a single member of the media. I have been quoted saying some things I wished I hadn't said, but I said them. OK?

And I didn't say they were off the record. I've never had anybody violate the off the record rule. So I stand before you as somebody that's not criticizing the media historically and not criticizing now. Y'all have done your job. You have not been unfair to us.

And the reason you haven't been able-- that it has gone so badly for us in the media is because we have not been comfortable talking to you. So y'all have done-- Everybody in this room or anybody that's on the Zoom call all knows that everybody in the media that I'm aware of actively and aggressively sought to get our side.

And we refused. So I've been accused many times in the past of jumping in front of cameras too quickly or whatever. And some of you are not used to the fact that we just were not talking to you.

And the reason is, we don't know what happened for sure. And you've heard me talk all along here about, how in the world are we supposed to respond when we don't know the names of the people? And I've seen some talking heads that say, well, I can find out who did it. Right?

I mean, they just go look and they match up dates and try to figure out. That's not what it's supposed to be about. We're not supposed to have to guess who is accusing us of doing something wrong. And I have been-- and you've seen our pleadings. I have been guided throughout this by a strong fear.

What if we disagreed with a woman and her position and it turned out we were wrong about who it was? You and everybody else would wrongly-- rightly scour us for that. So we have been involved in something that I'm not sure you all recognize how unique it is.

What's really important is to understand the dangers of what's happened this last two weeks. Not just the dangers to Deshaun Watson, but the dangers to anyone in which an opponent decides to try to ruin because it will help their case. Because if you stop and think about it, let's assume for a moment that given the rapidity of social media, that someone decides that it is to their advantage whether it gives them [INAUDIBLE] litigation, whether it gives them advantage in anything else, to go out and just lambast the target of their ire and lambast somebody that the media and the public care about, that has a reputation, so that they will get the coverage they want.

Let's assume for a moment-- Now, I'm not naming names or suggesting anything, but let's assume for a moment someone decides it is to his or her advantage to be a proponent of a particular social issue or a particular hot button issue and they pick a target to try to become associated with that activity. And they give all these self-serving social media post about how wonderful they are and how the champion there are of this or that. And then they make these horribly salacious allegations anonymously.

They file a petition, but the other side's answer date is not until the first Monday, 20 days after that first lawsuit is filed against them. In the meantime, the object of it doesn't even know who it was. Who-- How do I know?

How do I prepare? What do I do? And then people who are sympathetic to the social issue being raised say, well, you-- What's the big deal? You can find out.

What we heard today in the court, so far, and other judges still to rule and I don't want to anticipate what they're going to say. But so far, uniformly in 13 of the cases filed against him, two different judges have said, you need to tell them. Tell them who you are.

And actually, Mr. Buzbee as you may know this morning, halfway through the hearing said that he was ready to amend as soon as he got all of his people. That is something he could have done two weeks ago. And all of this howling about us, who is it?

We could have filed answers before now. We could have fully investigated. And every-- while we were investigating, our biggest fear was being wrong about somebody. So somebody might say, oh my God, look at all those lawsuits.

Does that mean he assaulted that many people? Folks, this guy had been getting two to three massages a week. The math I do on that is anywhere from 120 to 140 to 150 massages a year. He's been here since 1918.

In the year 2020, all of a sudden the spas shut down. If you all remember, nobody was getting massages unless they came up with an ad hoc way to do it. So that partly, that doesn't mean exclusively, he'd gone on Instagram before [INAUDIBLE] and he did.

But I've learned-- but the fact is, the world-- massage world during the pandemic changed. If you look at these allegations, my calculation is every one of them occur after we shut down for the pandemic. I was in a trial, so I'm pretty mindful of the when everything shut down.

And everything shut down the middle of March. First one of these allegations is late March of last year. That doesn't mean that he was never using Instagram before, I'm not suggesting that. I'm just saying that if you are a busy, active athlete and you are traveling constantly as he was, then you are going to have immediate--

When you want to get one, you can't predict it ahead of time. And by the way, these football teams don't have this battery of masseuses. I think that's probably something when y'all look into it and start talking, you'll find out it's not the case. All these players, they use different masseuses.

Which is another thing that I had to learn, because of the generational aspect. Millennials live on Instagram. Those of you who are millennials know that. Those of you who are not have probably discovered it long before I. They do business on it.

Deshaun lives on Instagram. He does business transactions on Instagram. Other people do. I'm discovering a much more prevalent use of it than I had any idea. I'm not on Instagram.

I don't do Twitter. I'm not on Facebook. I am an idiot about modern communications. But what I've learned is everybody else is not. And so there are all kinds of things that one, if you first look at-- and people had questions about that I found are totally normal.

Now, now once we find out who the names are, once we find out we no longer have to worry about whether or not we're guessing right about the right person, we'll examine these allegations just like anybody else. And just like I hope y'all will. I trust and hope that once y'all find out who the people are, you will do the same type of investigation of these cases that you've done of us.

So I wanted to make sure in my comments that you understood that I am not blaming the messenger that sits in this room or on the TVs. But I do want you to stop and think about the logical implications of what has happened here if it continues. Think about this.

Social media, if when I started out representing people of some prominence, the whole goal was to try to get back and get a response right away. If you go back decades to the Bill Clinton days and all, they had their rapid response team. And their goal was just to have an answer by that night.

OK? But back then everything wasn't posted as soon as that happened. You didn't have all these immediate media sources. Now when you make the allegation, it's out there right away. And if we're unable to give you an informed answer, it stays, and it stays, and it stays.

And that's been one of the frustrations and problems here. So in a public sense, Deshaun has been absent as a defense by his attorneys. I've been through this a few times. I've had lawyers suggest I ought to turn in my bar card, that I don't know what I was doing.

It was horrible. But part of the criticism was based on the same thing now. Our firm does not intend to come out and talk to y'all or the public or anybody else before we have a comfort level about what really happened. And I am not about to accuse 22 women we have now of ill motive, of lying or anything.

All I know is we're supposed to start out with you assuming we did not do it and then wait till proof shows that we did before you make up your mind. That presumption is pretty much gone in the way social media and all is used now. Because once the allegation is there, we know what?

You can't take it away. Deshaun is not for one moment arguing about what this has cost him money wise and all. Y'all have talked about-- I mean, you've seen about some of the endorsements being withdrawn or suspended. Because companies, understandably, don't know whether they want to be associated with him.

We're not-- we're not even addressing that. People can make money back up if they lose money. What they can't get back is their reputation. And that is the most destructive thing about what's happened here.

Where we can't informatively and responsibly respond yet, and yet we have been hammered time after time. And this is also born of my-- our lack of response to you. It's born of my caution to find out what happened.

So one of the reasons I asked some of the lawyers to work on this case that have worked on it to come over to the press conference. First of all, this is the team, with the exception of a couple of the men lawyers in the firm. We, as I said before, predominantly women now. We're probably-- we're probably nine or 16, or 10 and six. You know, somewhere around there.

We are a predominantly women firm, but we do have men working on these cases too. I don't want to say otherwise. But this has been sort of the core team along with our investigator, and with another senior lawyer in the firm, John McVain, who is off on something else now.

But when this happened, I get a call to represent Deshaun late on the night of the 16th after the first case is filed. Didn't have a relationship with him. Didn't know him, didn't know his agent or anybody.

He got a call on the referral. So that Sunday, I asked Letitia and Rachel. Letitia won't be too offended. Two different ages, two different entirely different backgrounds of a gender that might start out believing this is true. And I know both of their politics and I know both of their attitudes and they would be instinctively pro women in an issue that occurs.

I wanted them to go down to where Deshaun was. I'll leave that out. And I wanted them to meet with him. And at that time, there were 14 different petitions.

I think by the time they arrived to talk to him there were 16. I may be wrong, but I think if by the 16-- They spent-- I said, I want y'all to spend two days with him, without me, without anybody else. I want you to go over as much as you can with him.

And at the end of that day, I want you to tell me what you think. And they did. And they spent a time. And at the end of that time, they can speak for themselves, but both of them called back to say, we deeply, deeply do cannot believe this guy ever did anything non-consensual with any woman during any of this.

He didn't coerce them. We don't believe he used his position. We don't believe he intimidated them. We simply do not. Were sometimes consensual encounters?

Yes. And will that come out in any kind of litigation or trial? Of course it will. And that's where it should come out. But I think it's important for y'all to know.

And then for instance, Laura, at that time wasn't involved. She gets very involved shortly thereafter. Leah was really involved from the very beginning. We've all spent a tremendous amount of time with him.