While the criminal investigation is still ongoing, Deshaun Watson is quick to testify in a civil case

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With his criminal case unsolved and his civil cases developing to the point where it would otherwise be time to question him under oath in a deposition, the Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has a problem. Anything he says while testifying in the civil cases can be used against him in the criminal case.

As a result, attorneys handling the 22 civil cases went to court on Monday, arguing over whether Watson’s deposition would be delayed until the criminal case is resolved. Radio host Mike Meltser, a lawyer, posted procedural updates on Twitter.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women who sued Watson for sexual misconduct in massage therapy sessions, wants to proceed with Watson’s questioning regardless of the status of the criminal cases. Attorney Rusty Hardin, who represents Watson, wants to delay the process until the end of the criminal proceedings. Hardin said in court that he expects a grand jury to conclude its work by April 1.

The presiding judge found common ground. For plaintiffs who filed criminal complaints, Watson will testify after April 1. For all other plaintiffs, he will testify when Hardin is available. (Hardin is currently handling a trial in a different case.)

It’s not ideal for Watson. The things he says when questioned in cases filed by plaintiffs who have not filed a criminal complaint could be used by the prosecutor in other cases, if the prosecutor wishes. Additionally, Watson’s testimony could prompt the prosecutor to exercise the broad discretion inherent in the job in a way that results in an attempt to secure an indictment on one or more felony charges.

The schedule also makes it harder to trade Watson before other teams start deciding who their quarterbacks will be for 2022. The best seats could be filled before the end of the criminal case.

There is another important point to keep in mind. Watson doesn’t have to settle all the cases at once. It could try to settle cases that do not involve criminal complaints, if it so wishes. However, Buzbee and his clients now have even more clout, as settling these claims becomes the ticket to delay the sworn examination until April 1, at the earliest.

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