• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Women accusing Deshaun Watson of sex assault appear in court

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Half a dozen women who filed civil lawsuits against Deshaun Watson joined their lawyer in court for a routine hearing that was anything but routine.

Video Transcript

- We want to be clear. This is a pretty routine hearing in civil cases that took place here at the courthouse this afternoon, so the plaintiffs on a normal case would not have to have been present. But they chose to come here and make a very strong visual statement.

Attorney Tony Buzbee led, at least, half a dozen named plaintiffs in civil lawsuits against Deshaun Watson into court this afternoon. The women sat in court for what would otherwise be a fairly routine hearing just involving attorneys. But when there are 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct against a star NFL quarterback, there is nothing routine about any court hearing.

At its heart, today's hearing between Buzbee and Watson's lead attorney, Rusty Hardin, was simply to set up a schedule to organize all the lawsuits. However, the two quickly begin accusing each other's clients of deleting or changing Instagram messages. The lawsuits had alleged that Watson contacted many of the women via Instagram, and it's clear social media will play a large role in the outcome of these cases.

What information is preserved, and what information is not present?

- Yeah, Deshaun Watson has unsent a lot of his direct messages on Instagram, and we've raised that issue before. We'll deal with it when the time comes.

- The judge told both sides not to delete or alter any evidence, especially Instagram. But what's frustrating for Hardin, he says, is that even though the plaintiffs names have been made public, his team still has not been able to identify four of the women. Hardin, asking the judge to force Buzbee to turn over more identifiable information.

- Some of the basic civil court proceedings.

- I've never ever experienced, where six weeks after the lawsuits are brought, we still don't know who all of them are. So in that sense, it's unusual.

- So right now, both sides are required to file some standard paperwork by tonight, and then they'll have another hearing in about two weeks. Now, some more procedural motions, but as you have seen already, there could be a lot more happening between now and then. We'll provide some legal analysis on ABC 13 at 6:00. For now, we're live downtown. Maya Shea, ABC 13, Eyewitness News.