Deshaun Watson to Plead Fifth In Depositions, Legal Issues Should Clear Up Some On Friday

Friday will be a big day for Deshaun Watson.

The former Clemson QB will be deposed regarding the 22 civil suits pending against him, along with a grand jury beginning proceedings to decide whether or not any criminal charges are warranted in the case.

The 22 civil suits were all filed last March, accusing the Texans’ QB of sexual misconduct.

However with the grand jury proceedings not being wrapped up before the deposition is over, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said he will insist the quarterback plead the fifth.

“The pleading of the Fifth is at my insistence — not Deshaun’s,” Hardin said. “No lawyer in America would allow his client to answer questions in a civil suit while the same facts and cases are being considered at the same time by a grand jury. I asked [opposing counsel] Tony Buzbee to delay [the deposition] by one day and I would be glad to let Deshaun answer questions once the grand jury completed its investigation…We will be glad to give one once the criminal investigation is completed.”

From Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson:

While the two proceedings aren’t directly tied to each other, Watson’s legal camp had tried to hold off all of his depositions in the civil cases until after the grand jury’s decision on a criminal indictment. The reasoning, presented in court by Watson’s defense attorney Rusty Hardin, was to avoid any chance of overlap in Watson’s testimony that could impact the grand jury proceedings. A judge rebuffed Hardin’s efforts and Watson’s deposition schedule was ordered to continue, resulting in Friday’s parallel proceedings.

Hardin says it will culminate in Watson pleading the Fifth in all of his deposition appearances until there is a resolution in the grand jury proceeding. The Fifth Amendment protects a person from being compelled in a legal proceeding to testify as a witness against themselves.

NFL Insider Ian Rappaport said this should result in some clarification regarding when Watson could potentially be traded, as the quarterback asked to be traded from Houston following the 2020 season, before sitting out all of last season.

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