Why did the Grand Jury decline to indict Deshaun Watson?
The Houston Texans quarterback is off the hook for all nine criminal charges presented to the grand jury, must still answer to 22 civil cases against him
A police investigation into the accusations contained in lawsuits filed by 22 women against Deshaun Watson led to a grand jury being convened. Watson was charged with nine criminal complaints, prosecutors declined to present the tenth. After listening to over six hours of evidence and testimony, the grand jury rejected all nine cases. The Harris County District Attorney’s office confirms that this brings to an end the criminal proceedings against the Texans quarterback.
"It's definitely a very emotional moment for me. I know we're far from being done of handling what we need to handle on the legal side, but today is definitely a big day," said Watson. "I thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ for letting the truth be heard. And I thank everyone that was a part of this for seeing and hearing both sides. I'm just going to keep fighting to rebuild my name and rebuild my appearance in the community.”
The District Attorney’s office declined to say what charges were presented to the grand jury. “Grand jury proceedings are secret by law, so no information related to their inquiry may be disclosed. We respect the grand jury's decision.”
Houston police began their investigation in April 2021 after the first criminal complaint was filed with the FBI looking at the allegations as well.
Rustin Hardin, Watson's lead attorney, released a statement saying, "We are delighted that the grand jury has looked at the matter thoroughly and reached the same conclusion we did. Deshaun Watson did not commit any crimes and is not guilty of any offenses. Now that the criminal investigations have been completed, we are happy to move forward with the civil case depositions. We will vigorously defend those cases with every ounce we have."
"The civil cases will continue to gather steam. We take Mr. Watson's deposition again Tuesday. Respect the process," said Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the 22 women.
Watson has not played for the Texans since the first lawsuit was filed on in March 2020. In January 2021, Watson asked that he be traded, but teams across the NFL balked at the prospect while criminal charges were in the offing.
Head coach Lovie Smith said the Texans are hoping for "a prompt resolution" to Watson's future with the team. It is reported that as many as ten teams could be in the hunt for Watson.