Jameis Winston accuser interviewed
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The state attorney investigating allegations that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston sexually assaulted a woman interviewed the accuser Thursday, according to people familiar with the investigation.
The woman, who says Winston sexually assaulted her at an off-campus apartment on Dec. 7, 2012, was a fellow FSU student but withdrew from classes after details of the incident were released to media by Tallahassee police last week. On Thursday morning, Winston's attorney said his client had sex with the woman but that it was "absolutely" consensual.
William Meggs, state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, said Friday there are still "four or five" things that need to be done before a decision as to whether there is sufficient evidence to charge Winston with a crime. Meggs told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he does not anticipate taking the case in front of a grand jury.
If Winston is charged with a felony, he will be subject to immediate suspension from the team. According to FSU's Intercollegiate Athletics Policies and Procedures handbook, student-athletes charged with a felony "will not be permitted to represent FSU Athletics in game competition until such time as the charge is resolved and all court, university and athletics department conditions for reinstatement have been met."
The FSU policy does include a stipulation that allows the suspension to be waived for "extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration."
Winston, a redshirt freshman from Bessemer, Ala., is a leading Heisman Trophy candidate and has guided the No. 2 Seminoles to a 10-0 record in his first season as a starter. He is expected to start Saturday's home game against Idaho at Doak Campbell Stadium.
On Thursday morning, Tim Jansen, Winston's attorney, responded to an ESPN.com report that a DNA analysis completed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday confirmed DNA provided by Winston matched the sample taken from the underwear of the accuser. According to the DNA analysis report, a copy of which was viewed by ESPN.com on Wednesday, the state crime lab determined the chance of the DNA in the woman's underwear being a match for someone other than Winston was one in 2.2 trillion.
Jansen said Winston voluntarily submitted a DNA sample to Tallahassee police on Nov. 14.
"We are not surprised with the results of the DNA," Jansen told reporters. "We voluntarily submitted to a DNA [test]; the only thing we are surprised by is it was leaked out by law enforcement. The question the people should ask is why is it being leaked? For what purpose?"
Jansen added that the fact Winston's DNA matched DNA found on the woman didn't affect his defense. Jansen said he has submitted affidavits to the state attorney from two witnesses -- both of whom are FSU football players, according to people familiar with the case -- that corroborate Winston's version of what happened the night of the incident.
"I don't think it's a secret what the defense is when I tell you that we are not surprised his DNA was found," Jansen said. "We anticipated it would be found. We never, ever said he wasn't there."
Meanwhile, Patricia Carroll, the accuser's Tampa, Fla.-based attorney, said the woman is not seeking financial gain or any other benefits by talking to law enforcement authorities who are investigating the case.
"It is absolutely untrue," Carroll said. "This is a victim of rape, which occurred on Dec. 7. She identified this guy sometime in January. This whole situation -- think about it, think about it -- if she wanted to ruin this guy, she would have done it a long time ago."
Carroll said the woman returned to FSU for the fall semester and was trying to move on from the incident. But then Tallahassee police changed the case from open-inactive to open-active status last week and referred it to the state attorney's office more than 11 months after the alleged crime was initially reported.
"She's not someone with any interest in ruining the football team," Carroll said. "If this victim was interested in notoriety, why would she have not taken any action all this time? Anyone with a brain can see that. It's ludicrous. It only came out when someone from the press got ahold of this. It's really ruined her life. There's no benefit in this to her whatsoever. She's a good girl, and this is a nightmare. She was trying to move on with her life, and there was no benefit to her."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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