HOUSTON — At least nine women have come forward to make claims against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to plaintiffs’ attorney Tony Buzbee.
Three have filed lawsuits, including one woman who says Watson forced her to perform oral sex. Buzbee said Thursday that six more lawsuits are in the works and the NFL has launched an investigation.
Watson denies the allegations and he's hired high-powered defense attorney Rusty Hardin to represent him in the civil lawsuits.
Hardin is no stranger to high-profile cases involving professional athletes.
One of the biggest cases of Hardin’s career happened in 2012 when former MLB pitching legend Roger Clemens faced federal charges of lying to Congress and obstructing justice.
It stemmed from the Mitchell Report’s allegations that the seven-time Cy Young Award winner used performance-enhancing drugs.
Hardin represented Clemens in the Washington D.C. trial where a jury acquitted him of all charges after eight weeks of testimony.
Another Hardin case that made national headlines was the felony child abuse case against then Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
He was arrested in Montgomery County in 2014 after beating his son with a tree branch or “switch.”
The boy had cuts and bruises on his back, bottom, scrotum and legs, according to documents.
“He used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas,” Hardin said at the time.
Peterson later agreed to a plea deal and pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault.
He avoided jail time but was ordered to pay a fine and perform 80 hours of community service.
"I truly regret this incident," Peterson said outside the courthouse. "I stand here and take full responsibility for my actions. I love my son more than any one of you could even imagine. I am looking forward to and I am anxious to continue my relationship with my child.
Former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon called Hardin in 1986 when he was accused of choking and beating his wife Felicia.
Moon, who was with the Minnesota Vikings at the time, still lived in Missouri City when the alleged assault happened.
Even though Felicia Moon didn’t want to press charges, prosecutors pursued the case based on a Texas law that forces suspected assault victims to testify against their spouses.
After eight days of testimony, a Fort Bend County jury took less than half an hour to find Moon not guilty.
The couple divorced 10 years later.
More recently, Harden was hired to represent NFL player Michael Bennett after an NRG Stadium security guard accused him of injuring her.
The 66-year-old woman, who uses a wheelchair, said Bennett pushed her arm as he made his way through a crowd after Super Bowl LI in 2017.
Bennett was trying to get on the field to congratulate his brother Martellus, a tight end for the New England Patriots, after they beat the Atlanta Falcons.
A Harris County grand jury indicted Bennett on a felony charge of injury to the elderly but prosecutors later dismissed the charge.
Former Houston Rockets guard James Harden became a client in 2016 after he was sued by Moses Malone Jr.
The son of NBA legend Moses Malone blamed Harden after he was beaten and robbed by four suspects outside a Houston strip club.
Malone accused Harden of orchestrating the attack because he posted something negative about the player’s basketball camp.
Harden was never charged with a crime and he denied knowing the suspects charge in the attack.
The lawsuit hasn't gone to trial yet.
With Hardin’s help, Harden won another lawsuit in 2019 filed by a photographer who claimed the NBA star broke his finger outside a Hollywood nightclub.
Hardin was also his attorney in a 2013 lawsuit filed by a Lakers fan who was punched by Hardin. They settled that case for an undisclosed amount.
The stakes were higher in 2004 when NBA Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy was accused of sexually abusing five of his 10 daughters years earlier.
The former Rocket was tried on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and three counts of indecency with a child.
During the five-week trial, Hardin told jurors the accusers were motivated by a dispute over money.
It took them two hours to acquit Murphy on all counts.
The longtime broadcaster was in tears when he hugged Hardin and gave him a kiss.
"I cannot say enough for what they have done to give me my life
back," Murphy said after the trial.
It was back in 1997 when New York Yankees third baseman Wade Boggs needed Hardin’s help after a Continental Airlines flight attendant sued him.
Testimony showed the 12-time All-Star traded insults with the woman while chugging beers on a chartered team flight.
Wade apologized but the flight attendant said she was left traumatized by the encounter and her attorney asked for $250,000.
It took less than five minutes for jurors to rule in Boggs’ favor.
Scottie Pippin, Steve Francis, Rudy T
Most famous attorneys don’t bother with DWI cases – unless there’s an even more famous athlete involved.
Hardin helped clear NBA stars Scottie Pippin and Steve Francis and longtime Rockets Coach Rudy Tomjanovich after each was charged with DWI.
Charges against Pippin and Rudy T were dismissed for lack of evidence.
Francis was found not guilty by a Houston jury.
The former Rocket pleaded guilty to another DWI charge in 2017.
Ironically, Hardin spent his early years prosecuting drunk driving suspects after he was hired by District Attorney Johnny Holmes in 1975.
During his 15 years as a prosecutor, Hardin never lost a case, putting dozens of killers behind bars and some on death row.
He switched sides in 1990 and never looked back.