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Another Texas jury is considering evidence related to another charge of sexual misconduct against Cleveland Brown quarterback Deshaun Watson, ESPN confirmed with Tony Buzbee, the complainant’s attorney.
The grand jury is in Brazoria County, south of Houston.
The Browns declined to comment, but a spokesman for the team told ESPN that the team was aware of the potential of another grand jury and was made aware that it was hearing evidence.
The Browns bought Watson from the Houston Texans last week for three first-round picks and three other draft picks. The Browns also gave Watson a new five-year contract worth $ 230 million guaranteed, the most guaranteed money on a single contract in NFL history with $ 80 million.
In statements announcing the deal Sunday, the Browns called their research and investigation of Watson, including the allegations of sexual assault and sexual assault against him, “comprehensive.”
“We are very aware of and empathetic to the very personal feelings expressed about this decision,” Brown owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam said in the statement. “Our team’s comprehensive evaluation process was of utmost importance due to the sensitive nature of his situation and the complex factors involved. We also understand that there are still some lawsuits going on and we will respect fair process. “
The Browns have not yet provided details of their investigation. They also did not speak to any of the 22 women who have sued Watson and accused him of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, according to their lawyer.
“[The Browns] did not contact me, and again, I did not expect that they would, but I would have taken their call, and if they had specific questions that I could reveal to him, I certainly would have done so, Buzbee said. ESPN. “And if they wanted to talk to some of the plaintiffs, I would have made them available just like I did with the NFL if they wanted to. [would’ve been] up to the women, however [no team] did it.”
Cleveland’s announcement of the deal came just nine days after a grand jury in Harris County, where Houston is located, refused to prosecute Watson for criminal charges following a police investigation triggered by the trials. The prosecutors in the trials ranged from touching women with his genitals to forced oral sex. Eight of the women who sued Watson filed criminal charges against him with Houston police and had been put on trial before the grand jury.
Two women who did not sue Watson also filed police charges.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said on March 11, following the Harris County jury’s decision that “the criminal investigations are complete.”
Hardin did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
The NFL could suspend Watson for at least six games through its Code of Conduct for Sexual Assault Offenses. The league has previously confirmed in a statement that any trade for Watson would have “no effect on the NFL’s ongoing and comprehensive investigation into the serious allegations against Watson. If the league’s investigation establishes that Watson has violated his personal conduct policy, discipline may be imposed. according to the policy. “
However, a league source told ESPN that as part of Watson’s new deal, he will earn about $ 1 million in his base salary for 2022. This means that if he is suspended by the NFL for violating its code of conduct on sexual assault, he would lose less than $ 60,000 per. lost game.
Buzbee said he has 17 more deposits of Watson to take, as part of the 22 lawsuits that have been filed against him with allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. Buzbee added that there are four more women who have not yet filed a lawsuit but who he expects will do so.
“As far as further lawsuits are concerned, I have been contacted by additional women who I decide whether I want to take their case or someone else who wants to sue Deshaun Watson,” Buzbee said.
The lawyer also said he expects there will be “additional women filing criminal charges.”
Watson was in Cleveland Thursday for a physical match.
ESPN’s John Barr contributed to this report.