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Grand jury is set to convene, weigh criminal charges against Deshaun Watson

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson hasn't played since the 2020 season. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Eight women who filed criminal complaints of sexual misconduct against Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson were subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury Friday, their attorney, Tony Buzbee, said Tuesday.

Last year, 10 women filed criminal complaints against Watson, alleging sexual harassment and assault during massage therapy sessions. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office opened an investigation and is expected to present at least one case to the grand jury, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.

The same day the grand jury convenes to weigh criminal charges, Watson will be deposed for civil lawsuits filed against him last spring. A total of 22 women, all represented by Buzbee, have sued Watson, accusing him of a range of behaviors that include making inappropriate comments, exposing himself and forcing his penis on the women’s hands, among others.

Watson has denied the allegations, and his attorney, Rusty Hardin, has said any sex acts that occurred were consensual.

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The 26-year-old quarterback was coming off a career season in 2020, when he led the NFL in passing yards. But his career came to a standstill with the emergence of the lawsuits. The Texans denied his trade request in January 2021, and the pending lawsuits kept him off the field for all of last season.

Watson has continued to be the subject of trade chatter this offseason. The Washington Commanders, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation, still consider him an option, but with caveats — Washington probably would need clarity on his availability for 2022. Although the grand jury may decide not to charge Watson, the NFL is investigating him for possible violations of its personal conduct policy, meaning he could face a suspension and/or fine.

Acquiring Watson would be particularly complicated for the Commanders, who were fined $10 million by the NFL for fostering a culture of sexual harassment and bullying. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform opened an investigation of the team’s workplace culture; during a recent congressional panel, owner Daniel Snyder was accused by a former employee of sexual misconduct. The NFL appointed former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White to investigate those allegations.

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The latest: Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced that the committee intends to issue a subpoena to compel the testimony of Commanders owner Daniel Snyder.

Exclusive: An employee of Washington’s NFL team accused Snyder of asking for sex, groping her and attempting to remove her clothes, according to legal correspondence obtained by The Post. A team investigation concluded the woman was lying in an attempt to extort Snyder.

Civil suits settled: Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has reached settlement agreements in 20 of the 24 active civil lawsuits filed against him by women who accused him of sexual misconduct, the attorney for the women announced.

Jerry Brewer: “The Browns were prepared for initial turbulence, but they assumed they were getting Watson at the end of his troubles. Now his disgrace is their disaster.”

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