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Explained: Why The FBI Is Involved In The Deshaun Watson Case

Explained: Why The FBI Is Involved In The Deshaun Watson Case

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 03: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans in action against the Tennessee Titans during a game at NRG Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) 

The Deshaun Watson saga has been slowly bubbling over the past several months. Since March 16, 22 women have filed civil lawsuits against Watson accusing him of sexual assault and harassment. There was little news regarding the allegations against Watson until last week when it surfaced that the FBI is now involved in the investigation.

On Tuesday, Amy Dash — League of Justice founder and legal analyst for CBS Sports Radio and Fox Sports Radio — published an exclusive interview with Watson’s attorney, Tony Buzbee. In the interview, Buzbee claimed that the FBI is investigating Watson and that Buzbee has met with the FBI on multiple occasions, as have several of his clients. 

“Let’s be clear, when somebody comes into your office on the 73rd floor of the Chase Tower, whether they’re the FDA or the FBI, it’s a big deal. Well, it was the FBI,” Buzbee said, per League of Justice. 

On Wednesday, Watson’s attorney — Rusty Hardin — said that the FBI spoke with Watson regarding a potential extortion attempt by one of the accusers. 

“In April, the FBI came to us and told us they were investigating a matter as to whether one of Mr. [Tony] Buzbee’s clients had committed extortion in the way they were demanding money from Deshaun or what they would do if they didn’t pay it,” Hardin said in a news conference.“We were not the ones who contacted them; they contacted us. We talked to [the FBI]. We even let them interview Deshaun — and if y’all can find a lawyer that will let his client talk to the FBI if the lawyer had thought his client had done anything wrong or had any exposure, then I’ll be very, very surprised.

In order to get a better understanding of a very complicated situation, The Daily Wire spoke with Dash.  

“Nobody knows what the FBI is doing. That’s really important,” Dash told The Daily Wire. “Rusty Hardin is saying that he was initially contacted by the FBI because they were examining an extortion attempt by one of the accusers of Deshaun Watson. Buzbee is telling us he was contacted by the FBI because they’re investigating the allegations into Deshaun Watson and interviewing his client. And you have Rustin Hardin saying the FBI interviewed Watson.” 

“So you have that camp thinking that Watson is giving an interview about an extortion attempt and they’re investigating some woman, and the other camp thinks they’re giving interviews about Watson and he’s being investigated. And the bottom line is nobody knows what the FBI is doing because the FBI is not going to tell anybody what they’re doing.”

According to Dash’s conversation with Buzbee, the FBI became involved because of the nature of Watson’s contact with the accusers. Watson’s “reachouts” were reportedly done via the internet, and at least one woman claims that Watson flew her from Georgia — over state lines — for a massage, giving the FBI jurisdiction. 

“There is an internet component here,” Dash told The Daily Wire. “Anytime there is interstate activity in commerce, the FBI has jurisdiction if there is probable cause to believe something criminal was going on. They still have to prove that, so their investigation is the first step in them saying ‘the internet is involved here, he’s reaching out to people on Instagram according to the civil complaints, what happened from there?’ Did he reach out to these women and tell them he wanted a massage? That’s step one.”

“If he said he wanted a massage, was he just saying that but he really wanted to pay them for sex? They are investigating that. They want to know, what was his intention behind reaching out?”

Dash went on to discuss the importance of Watson’s intentions when reaching out to the massage therapists, acknowledging that depending on the intention, there could be the potential for “solicitation of prostitution.” 

“It can be either transportation — but it doesn’t have to be transportation — it can be recruitment, plus the intention behind the recruitment is a criminal intention,” Dash said. “And then you have to force them or coerce them into doing what you want against their will, they do it because they feel threatened, and you pay them for it. You prove all that and you have your human trafficking crime.” 

“There is a lot that has to be proven and that’s why Rusty Hardin is saying ‘give this guy the benefit of the doubt.’ They are saying he didn’t commit this crime. They don’t believe the evidence exists to prove that he did, and a lot of evidence would have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt before he could be convicted of such a thing. But again, there are a lot of women claiming very similar patterns here. So that’s why the FBI has been investigating.” 

As with any ongoing investigation involving an NFL player, Dash noted that the league may be required to act. The commissioner of the NFL — Roger Goodell — has the ability to place a player on the “exempt list,” meaning the player in question would not be allowed on the field until taken off of the excerpt list. 

“The NFL has a policy that if someone is charged with sexual assault or domestic violence, they will immediately go on the commissioner’s exempt list,” said Dash. “The simple answer is he hasn’t been charged with anything. So, they’re going to let him play until there’s a charge. Not a conviction, a charge. If he’s indicted or criminally charged, he will go on the exempt list.”

Watson’s future in Houston is not known, though he did report to Texans training camp last month.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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