HOUSTON — A grand jury will hear evidence in the case involvingThere are still questions about the viability of this project. — as well as other NFL teams — will have more clarity on the quarterback’s legal situation.
A decision regarding criminal charges could be made.The grand jury deliberations may continue for the week ahead
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, told ESPN in July that 10 women had filed complaints with Houston police about Watson. Eight women also filed civil lawsuits against Watson alleging harassment, inappropriate behavior, and sexual assault during massage sessions.
Watson is currently facing a total ofSexual assault and inappropriate behavior are both allegations.
Grand jury proceedings do not require unanimous consent. Hardin stated to ESPN Tuesday that if nine grand jurors report a “true bill,” Texas law requires, Harris County District attorney Kim Ogg may decide to bring a criminal case against Watson.
Watson could be charged with indecent assault, harassment and assault. These are all misdemeanor offences. Indecent assault is a Class A Misdemeanor that can lead to up to one year in prison and a maximum of $4,000 fine. Watson could also be charged in Texas with second-degree sexual assault. This is a felony that can result in up to 20 years imprisonment.
These grand jury proceedings have no bearing on the outcome in civil cases. However, NFL teams who are interested in trading Watson should be able to get more information within the next week regarding whether Watson will face criminal charges or how that could affect his NFL future. Court documents indicate that a pretrial conference regarding those lawsuits has been scheduled for May 1, unless Watson or the 22 plaintiffs resolve the civil cases.
The process of NFL discipline could be initiated if the criminal investigation is concluded (i.e. he is not indicted). Hardin had previously told ESPN he didn’t expect Watson to talk to the league investigators until the criminal investigation had ended.
If Watson is charged, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could also choose to put the quarterback on the commissioner’s exempt list, something he did not do last year. Watson was a healthy scratch during all 17 games and received a $10.5-million base salary.
The Texans have until Monday to make the trade. However, there are a few key dates on the NFL calendar. Although contract negotiations for free-agents begin at noon ET on Monday (ET), NFL trades are not finalized until 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, which marks the 2022 season. The NFL draft takes place April 28-30. This is also the key date for any trade involving draft picks.
Watson will also be subject to oath questions for the first time in civil cases, at least in some of them. Hardin told ESPN he’ll instruct Watson to assert his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself during his testimony on Friday in the civil cases because the criminal investigation has not concluded.
In his most recent comments on Watson, Nick Caserio, Texans general manager, stated that the Texans were “day-to-day” in handling Watson's situation. Coach Lovie Smith stated last week that the Texans hope for a quick resolution to Watson's future.