CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct against him, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Tony Buzbee, has announced.
"Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled," Buzbee said in a statement. "We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won’t comment further on the settlements or those cases."
Buzbee said that the terms of the settlements will remain confidential.
While not all 24 of the lawsuits have been settled, the 20 settlements mark a significant development in a story that dates back to early 2021, when Watson was first accused by multiple women of sexual harassment and/or assault. In the time since, a total of 24 women -- primarily massage therapists in the Houston area -- have filed lawsuits against Watson, who the Browns acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Houston Texans this past March before signing the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback to a record five-year, $230 million fully guaranteed contract.
While two Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal charges, he remains under investigation by the NFL and could face punishment, including a likely suspension, if it's found he violated the league's personal conduct policy. As recently as last week, Watson -- who has publicly maintained his innocence -- stated his intentions to continue to fight the lawsuits rather than reach a monetary settlement with his accusers.
"I just want to clear my name and be able to let the facts and the legal procedures continue to play out," he said at the Browns' mandatory minicamp last week. "Right now, that is all I am doing is wanting to clear my name and be able to let all of the facts come out in the court of law and be able to focus on that."
Of the lawsuits that remain, Buzbee said that Ashley Solis was one of the four accusers who didn't reach a settlement with Watson. Last month, Solis was one of two accusers to appear on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," where she emotionally detailed her experience with Watson, who she said grabbed himself and put his penis on her hand during a massage.
"Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story," Buzbee said. "Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue. I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court’s schedule."
In a statement released later Monday afternoon, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the settlements have "no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.