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As expected, clips are leaked from Deshaun Watson deposition

Mike Florio and Myles Simmons break down Roger Goodell's comments regarding Deshaun Watson and how Watson's legal situation may play out in the weeks and months to come.

The deposition testimony developed to date in the 22 Deshaun Watson civil cases aren’t subject to any type of protective order restricting their release to the media. As a result, a portion of Watson’s swornn testimony has been leaked to the media. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the leak was made by lawyer Tony Buzbee, who represents the 22 plaintiffs.

The edited clips given by Buzbee to Fox 8 in Cleveland undoubtedly were intended to make Watson look bad. For example, the clips include an admission from Watson that he didn’t tell the Texans or his personal trainer that he was arranging private massages through social media.

Then there’s this objectively implausible exchange, regarding one of the specific massage therapists.

Q: Did you find her attractive?

A: That wasn’t my intention, sir.

Q: I didn’t ask you what your intentions were.

A: I can’t answer that. I have a girlfriend, so that wasn’t my intention, sir.

Q: So you can’t answer that because you have a girlfriend?

A: Because that’s not what I was looking for.

Q: What did you want from her?

A: Just a massage.

Apart from the fact that having a girlfriend doesn’t prevent Watson from concluding that a given massage therapist was attractive to him, the “I have a girlfriend” logic collapses when considering that attorney Rusty Hardin admitted last April that some of the massage sessions arranged by Watson became consensual sexual encounters. Unless each of those occurred at a time when Watson didn’t have a girlfriend, the entire line of questioning harms his credibility.

In these cases, Watson’s credibility becomes critical. He faces 22 civil claims that boil down to he said/she said disputes of fact, with no witnesses in the room to break the tie. Watson’s overall believability must be impeccable.

Although the clip leaked to Fox 8 likely is the worst snippet Buzbee could harvest, it’s problematic. And it’s an indication that Watson allowed the temptation to engage in swordplay with the opposing lawyer to overcome his primary obligation to tell the truth in response to each and every question asked, and to leave it to his lawyer to try to secure a victory based on a record of testimony that, from Watson, represents the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

If Watson can be characterized as having told something other than the truth on any relevant topic, it becomes more difficult to convince a neutral jury that he’s telling the truth when he denies 22 different allegations of wrongdoing.

Of course, the credibility of the alleged victims becomes critical, too. To date, their testimony hasn’t been leaked.