The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the investigation into 23 accusations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior made against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. On Wednesday, Watson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, also said that the FBI is looking into an allegation that one of the accusers attempted to extort Watson.
"In April, the FBI came to us and told us they were investigating a matter as to whether one of Mr. [Tony] Buzbee's clients had committed extortion in the way they were demanding money from Deshaun or what they would do if they didn't pay it," Hardin said.
"We were not the ones who contacted them; they contacted us. We talked to [the FBI]. We even let them interview Deshaun -- and if y'all can find a lawyer that will let his client talk to the FBI if the lawyer had thought his client had done anything wrong or had any exposure, then I'll be very, very surprised."
Tony Buzbee, the attorney who represents more than 20 of Watson's accusers, also confirmed that the FBI is looking into the matter. However, Hardin feels that the FBI is looking more toward accusations of extortion than sexual assault.
"I don't think they're investigating Deshaun," he added.
"What they're investigating is the allegations Buzbee has made in his lawsuits. I didn't know about that until yesterday, and then I checked it out and it's true. They are."
In addition to the FBI, the Houston Police Department and the National Football League have conducted their own investigations. Most recently, Harris County District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit also began looking into the matter and issued subpoenas.
Despite the multiple investigations surrounding Watson, he remains with the Houston Texans. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has also opted not to put Watson on his exempt list. With a few weeks left until the regular season, Watson is eligible to play for the Texans this season or be traded to a new team as he requested.