Legal analyst reveals how eyebrow-raising revelations could impact Watson case
There’s an episode of the classic 1950s (it was a different time) TV comedy, Amos ‘n Andy, where the two main characters, George “Kingfish” Stevens and Andy H. Brown, are arrested for jimmying a pay phone to retrieve “The Rare Coin.”
The Kingfish and Andy are standing before a judge who seems to be understanding of their situation – they were just trying to retrieve a rare nickel that Andy put in the phone by accident. That’s when the guys’ comically shifty lawyer, Algonquin J. Calhoun, bursts into the courtroom and starts screaming like a nut, “These two crooks didn’t do it!”
The judge recognizes Calhoun and asks the lawyer, “Didn’t I disbar you three years ago?” Calhoun gulps and bolts out of the courtroom, “So long boys!”
Their goose cooked, Kingfish turns to the judge and says one of the great lines in TV sitcom history.
“Excuse me, Your Honor, but how much ground did we lose while our lawyer was in here defending us?”
You couldn’t blame Deshaun Watson for asking the same question today, how much ground did he lose last week when his lawyer Rusty Hardin went on a Houston radio station defending him?
Hardin said, “I don’t know how many men are out there now that have had a massage that perhaps occasionally there was a happy ending. Maybe there’s nobody in your listening audience that that ever happened to. I do want to point out, if it has happened, it’s not a crime. OK?"
He went on, “Unless you are paying somebody extra or so to give you some type of sexual activity, it’s not a crime. Doing something or saying something or being a way that makes you uncomfortable is not a crime.''
Did he just say what I heard? Tony Buzbee, the lawyer defending the two dozen women accusing Watson of sexual misconduct, practically started tap dancing in a metaphoric end zone. I could imagine him offering to sponsor a weekly talk show starring Hardin.
Hardin went on social media to do some ‘splainin, Lucy. He said, "On a Houston radio show interview today, I mentioned that a massage that has a happy ending is not illegal, meaning it is not illegal for someone to have consensual sex with a therapist after a massage unless the sex is for pay.”
How many times are you going to say “happy ending.” Please stop, Rusty.
In his own defense, which might be his best bet moving forward, Watson has said he’s never done anything illegal or disrespectful of any woman, and admitted that he had sex with three of the massage ladies, but it was consensual each time.
While Watson did offer to settle all the civil cases against him, not every woman agreed to the buyout, so the offer was rescinded and there’s a chance that all two dozen cases are headed to court sometime in 2023. You think the Amber Heard v. Johnny Depp got down and dirty, just wait.
Meanwhile the NFL is conducting its own investigation into Watson’s conduct and an announcement whether the league will punish Watson is expected shortly … whatever the NFL means by “shortly.”
It’s a lot easier to watch the steady drip-drip of troubling headlines about Watson now that he’s Cleveland’s problem, right Houston?
I asked Channel 2 legal analyst Brian Wice, did Deshaun Watson lose any ground when his lawyer Algonquin J. Hardin was on the radio defending him?
Wice said, “There's a reason why the first slide in my PowerPoint presentation on ‘Dealing with the Media’ is Hippocrates because any lawyer's primary objective in going on the air or on the record with a reporter should be "First, do no harm."
“And my take is that any sound bite that is driven by the expression ‘happy ending’ is probably not going to end well for the lawyer or the client.
“I'm not convinced that Rusty was correct in contending that a massage for a fee that concludes with sexual gratification was not illegal unless it was the result of an additional fee. Regardless of whether he was right, Rusty had to do damage control by issuing a statement attempting to explain exactly what he meant and one of the other rules in this biz is that if you're explaining, you're losing.”