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Two grand juries in Texas Refrain from bringing criminal charges against the former Houston Texas quarterback Deshaun Watson which was traded earlier this month to Cleveland Browns A deal that has since raised questions about the organization’s decision to bring him in despite 22 ongoing civil lawsuits alleging assault and sexual harassment.
But a prominent Texas criminal attorney who specializes in sexual assault cases believes these civil cases will shed light on the victims’ allegations.
Michelle Simpson Twiggle, who has represented victims of sexual assault and assault in high-profile cases such as the Larry Nassar lawsuit, told Fox News Digital in an interview Tuesday that she was not shocked by the grand jury decisions in Harris County and Brazoria County not to. charges against Watson and that the outcome of those cases will not necessarily be the same in civil proceedings.
“I think the thing that people really miss about certain things is that criminal procedures usually fail adult survivors and the burden of proof in a criminal case is much higher than it is in a civil case or an administrative investigation — like what NFL conducted or schools conduct because of sexual assault on campus — a similar administrative type of investigation into sexual misconduct,” Simpson Twiggle explained.
“A lot of people think that there is no trial and therefore these allegations do not carry weight and I see in my practice every day that this is not the case.”
Simpson Twiggle said that about 80% of the victims she represents in civil proceedings have not witnessed any criminal prosecution. She cited one of her recent cases in Harris County where the defendant was not charged by a grand jury despite “compelling evidence” but the victim in her case was ultimately awarded $44 million in a civil lawsuit.
“The burden and evidence required for a civil lawsuit are different.”
Simpson-Twiggle said civil cases can take months and “sometimes it takes years” to finish, which could happen in Watson’s situation.
Meanwhile, she has expressed concern about Brown and the NFL’s handling of the Watson trade, arguing that it sends a “chilling” message to victims of sexual assault.
“What we have seen over the years is unfortunately a recurring pattern of the NFL favoring athletes over victims and I think especially in the MeToo or post-MeToo era, the NFL is somewhat trying to save face by giving the impression that they are conducting an investigation. , so their decisions and his $230 million contract is okay. But I think what’s missing is this investigation and even in their confession, it doesn’t include talking deeply with the victims.”
Simpson Twiggle was referring to comments made by Browns general manager Andrew Berry who failed to say during Watson’s opening press conference on Friday whether the organization had communicated directly with any of the alleged victims during their independent investigation.
“We as an organization know that this treatment has been very difficult for a lot of people, particularly women in our community, and we recognize that it has stirred up a range of emotions, as well as the nature of the allegations, that deeply affected all of us,” Berry opened the conference by saying.
“It was really during this five-month trip and the information we were able to gather, the reference work, obviously working through the legal process and the legal process, that we were comfortable pursuing the trade for Deshaun.”
But Simpson Tuegel disagrees.
“I think without that aspect of this it’s not a two-sided investigation…what they really want to do is keep these talented athletes in their organization making money for them instead of going too deep into it and pressing at least a pause so they can get to the bottom of what you’re saying 22 A different woman.”
“It has a chilling effect, not just on these women, but on other survivors who are looking into this really public issue,” she continued.
Browns fans were divided over the Watson trade but many spoke out against it, something Simpson Tuegel says is a sign that “times I hope are constantly changing.”
“I think it speaks volumes about it being a different time, especially the number of women who have come forward so bravely and have had to do it in a very public way anonymously — and that carries weight for a lot of people,” he said.
“It’s not a fun process for these women, especially when they have to do it in public and with such a public person attached to it. So I think people are fighting back and Brown’s fans are standing up talking about how hopefully times will change in terms of how we respond to allegations of sexual misconduct , in that the people have the power, and the fans have the ability to say what’s more important than the safety of a good human being. Not football matches, not money and not winning and Brown fans stood up saying that was really impressive, especially some of the public figures who did it.”
Watson answered several questions about the veracity of the allegations in his debut with Brown on Friday and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.