Rusty Hardin, the attorney representing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in the 22 civil lawsuits alleging the 25-year-old signal-caller committed acts of sexual assault and misconduct, won several Friday emergency hearings related to a request that lawyer Tony Buzbee must reveal the identities of his clients who are suing Watson.
Per The Athletic’s Aaron Reiss, two Harris County judges ruled that 13 of the 22 women must refile with their names attached to the civil lawsuits. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted that it now seems likely all 22 plaintiffs will have to disclose their names in new filings.
Massage therapists Ashley Solis and Lauren Baxley revealed their identities in a Tuesday press conference. Solis is one of nine clients willing to voluntarily identify themselves following Friday’s first rulings, while Baxley’s case is linked with a hearing scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. local time.
Florio wrote on Thursday that it was likely “Hardin used this tactic as a way to bring the matter to a head more quickly, in order to force attorney Tony Buzbee to the table for settlement talks.”
Some, if not all, of the remaining anonymous women could attempt to settle while keeping their identities secret.
Both the Houston Police Department and NFL are investigating allegations made against Watson. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport added that the 22 lawsuits will be consolidated into one case.