Deshaun Watson Faces New Assualt Charge, His 23rd

A new assault charge has been levied against Cleveland Browns newly-acquired quarterback, Deshaun Watson. This becomes the 23rd active lawsuit filed against Watson for sexual misconduct against a number of masseuses during his time with the Houston Texans. 

Nia Smith, the plaintiff of this 23rd lawsuit, says she was not going to come forward initially, but felt inspired to do so after watching HBO’s Real Sports segment on Watson's case. Smith was not one of the first 22 women to file lawsuits against the Browns quarterback. 

 Deshaun Watson now faces 23 active lawsuits as latest filed today. In addition to serious accusations, timing is key. Watson could face multiple NFL suspensions if, after initially suspending him, NFL learns of new accusers. How many people could sue him?

— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) June 1, 2022

Smith detailed some of her communications with Watson's legal team, which reached out to her prior to the lawsuit filing. She said Watson's team tried to convince her to drop the suit through intimidation and various means of coercion. According to Sports Illustrated's Madeline Coleman, they even tried convincing Smith to speak positively about Watson. 

In an official statement, Smith gave a detailed, graphic account of her interactions with Watson over the summer of 2020. Allegedly, the quarterback suggested her to perform various sexual favours for him the course of three separate massage therapy sessions. After the third encounter, Smith said she quit her job.

Watson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, released an official statement on the quarterback's behalf responding to this new lawsuit. Hardin said that Watson "vehemently denies the allegations."

Photo Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports