Sean Pendergast

Police Detective Testifies Under Oath She Believes Deshaun Watson Committed Crimes

A police officer testified that she thought Deshaun Watson committed a crime.
A police officer testified that she thought Deshaun Watson committed a crime. Screen grab from YouTube
As we wait for Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing the 24 plaintiffs currently suing former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson for sexual misconduct, to fulfill last Wednesday's promise of adding the Houston Texans as a defendant to the lawsuits, more news trickled out over the weekend surrounding testimony in the depositions for the civil cases.

This time, it was sworn testimony from a police detective by the name of Kamesha Baker.  Baker investigated all ten of the criminal cases opened against Watson — nine in Harris County, one in Brazoria County — which were all tagged with a "no bill" from the respective grand juries in those counties, thus meaning Watson would not be prosecuted criminally for his alleged transgressions.

According to a story from Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY, in which he was able to obtain a transcript of the pretrial deposition of Baker, Baker said she believed Watson committed criminal indecent assault, sexual assault and prostitution in cases where money was exchanged and there was consensual sex. Furthermore, Baker disclosed that she wasn't called to testify before the grand jury in Harris County, and doesn’t know why the grand jury didn’t indict the Watson on criminal charges.

From the deposition transcripts in the USA TODAY article:
“Did you feel confident that you had the evidence needed to pursue those charges?” Baker was asked in the deposition.

“Yes,” Baker said.

“And was there any doubt in your mind as the investigating officer that a crime had occurred?”

“No,” Baker said.
Baker disclosed that she did meet with prosecutor Johna Stallings at the district attorney's office, and told her that the witnesses were credible and reliable:
“I expressed to her that we did find the complainants credible and reliable,” Baker testified, according to the transcript. “That's why we did a warrant that stated they were credible and reliable.”

“Was there any disagreement amongst your team or the police that a crime had occurred?” asked Tony Buzbee, the attorney for the women.

“No,” Baker said.
The article from Schrotenboer gives insight into how Watson's defense team, led by Rusty Hardin, combatted Baker's testimony. First, Hardin and his team took issue with Baker's admitting that she presumed the victims were telling the truth from the outset, perhaps creating an unfair presumption of guilt for Watson. Second, Hardin got Baker to admit in testimony that the prosecutor, in presenting to the grand jury, make have been working with far more evidence than Baker had available to her.

Baker did not get the opportunity to testify before the grand jury, and according to her sworn deposition, this was upsetting to her:
“I did want an indictment as I do with any case that I work,” Baker testified. “If I'm working that hard and I feel that the evidence I have supports the charge, yes, I want a charge.”
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office provided a statement on Friday in response to the USA TODAY article:
“Under state law it’s up to Grand Jurors to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence for an indictment,” the statement said. “That is their role. Senior prosecutors spoke extensively with the complainants and ensured all of the evidence was presented to Grand Jurors for consideration. It’s also exclusively up to Grand Jurors to determine who they want to hear from in person. All complainants were summoned to the Grand Jury. Grand jurors are allowed to ask to hear the testimony of anyone they want and the DA’s office always seeks to facilitate that testimony to the extent possible.”
The clock continues to tick toward the end of the month. With the backdrop of continued depositions of Watson and others in the now 24 civil cases against the Browns quarterback, the NFL reportedly has a June 30 date to complete its discovery, and shortly thereafter, give some kind of decision on how its officials intend to handle Watson's availability for the upcoming season.

However, with the Texans still slated to be pulled into this quagmire, there really  is no end in sight.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast