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Both sides in Deshaun Watson litigation make accusations of evidence destruction

Mike Florio examines why Rusty Hardin’s decision to say all 22 women suing Deshaun Watson are lying wasn’t the best move and explains how the accusers agreeing to meet with NFL investigators could complicate matters.

When it comes to legal proceedings, it’s critical that the parties involved never destroy relevant evidence. In the 22 cases pending against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, both sides are accusing the other of destroying evidence.

During a Thursday status conference, attorney Rusty Hardin said that some of the plaintiffs have been destroying or altering evidence, via Ivory Hecker of FOX 26. Attorney Tony Buzbee denied the it’s happening, accusing Hardin of making the allegation in order to get a headline. Buzbee also accused Watson of unsending Instagram messages to his accusers.

The judge said that both sides are on notice to preserve evidence, and that the court will follow through. In cases like this, the judge has broad discretion to sanction spoliation of evidence, if it’s happening. In some cases, it could be that a party tried to delete digital evidence but that the evidence still exists.

Meanwhile, Hardin told the court that he still can’t properly identify four of the 22 plaintiffs, complaining that Buzbee hasn’t provided social security numbers and driver’s license information. Buzbee said it’s unheard of to provide this information.

Buzbee was accompanied in court by six women, presumably plaintiffs in the various cases. Buzbee had said that 12 of the 22 plaintiffs were insisting on attending. All parties had the right to be present.