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A Harris County grand jury will not be pursuing any criminal charges against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, per multiple reports.
It was a busy legal day for Watson. His attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Tuesday his client would plead the Fifth during his civil deposition Friday, as the Harris County District Attorney’s Office was presenting its criminal investigation findings on the same day.
He indeed exercised his Fifth Amendment rights in the deposition related to the civil lawsuits filed against him by 22 women accusing him of sexual assault and misconduct:
The grand jury was impaneled to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Watson after a number of women—including eight of the women suing him—filed complaints with Houston police.
Friday’s grand jury decision adds some clarity to his future in the NFL. Aaron Wilson of the Pro Football Network reported Thursday that “up to 10 NFL teams are actively monitoring the Watson situation.”
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
Deshaun Watson has a no-trade clause and he’ll want to talk to any interested teams willing to do a deal with the #Texans. Interest will come quickly, but Watson’s decision may take a few days. https://t.co/1GjtIqaDYx
The NFL, however, has been conducting its own investigation, and it’s possible Watson could still face a suspension under the personal conduct policy regardless of the lack of criminal charges or the outcome of the civil cases:
Lindsay Jones @bylindsayhjones
NFL discipline could come at the conclusion of the league’s investigation — and Goodell has suspended multiple players before absent criminal charges — but for now we should not expect any changes to Watson’s status. He is eligible to be traded, practice and, as of now, play.
With criminal charges off the table, however, it’s likely a number of NFL teams interested in the quarterback will begin pursuing a trade.
Last offseason, before the lawsuits against Watson were levied, he asked for a trade out of Houston.
Texans head coach Lovie Smith told reporters March 2 he was ready for some closure to the situation.
“I just know Deshaun is an excellent football player,” he said. “Excellent football players need to be playing somewhere in the NFL. Hopefully that will happen and if it’s not with us it’s somewhere else and I’m sure … as I see in this situation, both of us eventually are going to benefit from the situation and I just can’t wait for that to speed up a little bit.”
original source: Deshaun Watson Pleads the 5th Throughout Deposition for Sexual Assault Case