Rusty Hardin, who is representing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in the 22 civil lawsuits alleging acts of sexual assault and misconduct, released a statement Thursday responding to lawyer Tony Buzbee previously stating his clients aren't considering settling the cases out of court.
Hardin's statement reads, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:
"In a recent interview, Mr. Buzbee stated that ‘a settlement is not happening. We certainly agree that there are currently no settlement negotiations being conducted. While we have never approached Mr. Buzbee about a settlement, he has approached us on numerous occasions in the past about the possibility of a settlement. We have made clear all along that there would be no settlement unless the terms are made public and all participants are allowed to speak in their own defense at all times. We want none of the participants — the plaintiffs or Mr. Watson — muzzled by a settlement agreement. Mr. Buzbee does not feel the same."
The statement continues:
"I am a little bemused by Mr. Buzbee pronouncing piously that his clients are not going to settle and that they want their cases to play out in court. The fact that this whole thing started with his attempt to extort money and avoid court shows that irony is not dead. I guess it has just been raised to a new level."
Roughly one month ago, Hardin released a statement that said all 22 women are "lying about the allegations of sexual misconduct" made against the quarterback. Watson has said that some massages he received in the past resulted in consensual sexual encounters but has denied any wrongdoing.
The Houston Police Department has spoken with between eight to 10 of the women but hasn't yet filed any criminal charges. NFL special counsel for investigations Lisa Friel is leading a league investigation into the allegations.