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Tuesday August 16th, 2022 6:04AM

Browns QB Watson facing lawsuit from 23rd massage therapist

By The Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Another massage therapist has filed a civil lawsuit against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, raising the number of women who have accused him of sexual misconduct to 23.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing all the women, filed the latest lawsuit Tuesday in Texas and said in a text to the AP that there could be more legal action forthcoming against Watson.

“I will be filing a 24th case soon,” he said.

Buzbee did not provide any details about the latest case.

The previous 22 lawsuits were filed in 2021, and two of those cases recently received national attention when two of the women were interviewed for a segment on HBO's “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

Both women provided graphic details of their encounters with Watson, who was traded from Houston to Cleveland in March. The Browns sent five draft picks — including three first-rounders — to the Texans and then signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract despite his legal entanglement and the cases still pending.

Watson has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, reiterated the 26-year-old's innocence while commenting on lawsuit No. 23.

“Deshaun Watson vehemently denies the allegations, just as he has since she first discussed them with members of our firm in March of last year,” Hardin said in an email to AP. “She repeated the allegations on social media in August and he denied them then. The only thing new about her contentions is the embellishment making them more extreme than prior versions. Deshaun’s denial remains the same.”

Watson is also facing a possible suspension from the NFL, which is independently investigating his behavior to see if he violated the league's substance-abuse policy.

League investigators recently met with Watson in Houston. It's not know if the league has completed its inquiry.

Watson, who has been giving depositions in the lawsuits over the past month, is scheduled to be back on the field Wednesday as the Browns continue their offseason team activities.

Watson has not spoken to the media since his introductory news conference on March 25. At that time, Watson said he has "never assaulted or disrespected or harassed any woman in my life.”

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