Deshaun Watson agrees to settle 20 of 24 civil claims

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached settlement agreements in 20 of the 24 active civil lawsuits filed against him by women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, the women’s attorney said Tuesday.

Attorney Anthony Buzbee described the terms of the settlement as confidential and said he expects the remaining four lawsuits to be settled in court.

“Today I announce that all but four of the cases against Deshaun Watson have been resolved,” Buzbee said in a written statement. “We are going through the paperwork related to these settlements. Once we have done this, these special cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We will not comment further on the settlements or these cases.”

Watson has not been charged with any crime. He still faces a possible suspension from the NFL under their personal conduct policy.

“Today’s development has no impact on the collective bargaining disciplinary process,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.

Watson and his attorney Rusty Hardin have denied the allegations.

Regarding the remaining civil claims, Buzbee said, “I look forward to hearing these cases in due course, consistent with other filing requirements and the court’s timetable.”

The NFL will push for a “significant” suspension of Deshaun Watson

The allegations made by the women against Watson include inappropriate comments about exposing himself and forcing his penis onto women’s hands during massage therapy sessions.

Hardin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’ve been honest, and I’ve been honest in my attitude,” Watson told reporters at an offseason practice session with the Browns last week. “And that means: I never forced anyone. I have never attacked anyone. … I said it from the beginning. And I will continue to do so. Until all the facts come out on the legal side, I just have to continue with the process of my legal department and the court.”

Watson had publicly expressed no interest in settling the lawsuits last week.

“Like I said, I just want to clear my name and be able to let the facts and the legal process continue,” he said at the time. “Right now, all I’m doing is clearing my name and being able to get all the facts out in court and focus on that.”

The NFL plans to argue with the sport’s new disciplinary officer that Watson should receive a “substantial” suspension for violating the personal conduct policy, several people familiar with the case said Friday. The suspension the league is seeking from Watson could last for about a full season, one of those people said.

The NFL must provide the results of its investigation to Sue L. Robinson, the former US District Judge who, under the current version of the Code of Conduct, is the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players Association.

It was not yet clear on Tuesday whether Robinson’s case was officially presented.

The league hopes the entire disciplinary process, including resolution of a potential complaint against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he designates, will be complete by the time training camp begins, a person familiar with the matter said Friday. The Browns are expected to hold their opening practice of training camp on July 27.

“When it comes to the league and their decision, we have to respect that and let them do their trial and complete their investigation and their report,” Watson said last week. “And like I said, I’ve spoken to the league. I have been honest and truthful in answering every question they have asked. So I can’t really have it [any] control over it.”

Buzbee said in an email Monday that he and his clients are not further involved in the NFL disciplinary process, other than the interviews some of the women had with league officials last year.

“Whatever the NFL does or refrains from doing will not affect the civil proceedings in any way,” Buzbee said in Monday’s email.