Rusty Hardin: Deshaun Watson gave spa owner $5,000 to help her business

USA TODAY Sports

A week that ended up being chock full of developments in the Deshaun Watson situation included news that a Houston spa owner has tested that Watson paid her $5,000 because he’s a “nice guy.” Attorney Rusty Hardin, who has become very vocal in recent days, has explained the payment in comments to Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today.

“She asked him to help out his business and he did, and that’s what the $5,000 was,” Hardin said. “It didn’t have anything to do with all the subsequent suggestions.”

Attorney Leah Graham echoed that sentiment to Schrotenboer.

“He was very inspired to help Black businesses,” Graham said. “That is one example of the numerous contributions he made to various Black businesses around Houston.”

At least three of the plaintiffs worked for or were associated with Dionne Louis, the recipient of the $5,000 payment. Nia Smith, who filed suit last week against Watson, specifically claims that Louis facilitated massages for Watson and knew Watson was attempting to have sex with his massage therapists. And as footnote 4 to Smith’s lawsuit points out, Louis invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when asked about text messages she exchanged with Watson.

Why would Louis invoke the Fifth Amendment in a civil case, if she simply received a donation from an NFL athlete who wanted to help her business? What is the potential crime in that?

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