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The state attorney investigating Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston's role in an alleged sexual assault said his office could decide within the next two weeks whether to pursue criminal charges against the Heisman Trophy candidate.
William Meggs, state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit in Tallahassee, Fla., said his office has interviewed several witnesses the past two days, after Tallahassee police referred the case to his office Wednesday.
|Heisman front-runner Jameis Winston is involved in a sexual assault investigation stemming from a complaint filed in late 2012.|
"We are making interesting progress," Meggs said. "I think we can get to a point where we can make a decision by next week or the week after."
The timing of Meggs' decision is important because if authorities charge Winston with a felony, he will be immediately suspended and ineligible for competition under Florida State athletic department policies.
"We're interviewing a lot of people," Meggs said. "It's become my responsibility, and I'm going to do everything I think I'm supposed to do to do the right thing."
The alleged victim has since moved out of state and prosecutors are arranging an interview with her, Meggs told The Associated Press.
Multiple reports have connected Winston to an incident on Dec. 7, 2012. Tallahassee police have confirmed only that they are investigating the report of an alleged sexual assault on that date.
The alleged victim identified Winston as her attacker but did so nearly a month after first reporting the alleged assault to FSU campus police, sources told ESPN.com. FSU police referred the case to Tallahassee police because the alleged crime took place at an off-campus apartment. It's unclear why Tallahassee police waited 11 months to refer the case to the state attorney's office.
Tim Jansen, Winston's attorney, told ESPN.com on Thursday that his client was being investigated for "his potential involvement" in the incident. Jansen provided police with affidavits from two witnesses earlier this week, one of whom was an FSU football player, sources told ESPN.com on Friday. Jansen said Thursday that police had already interviewed at least one of those witnesses and were in the process of interviewing the second.
Winston hasn't yet talked with police and hasn't provided authorities with a written statement, according to people with knowledge of the case.
Winston's name was not included in a police report that Tallahassee police released to ESPN.com on Wednesday. The alleged victim initially identified the suspect as being between 5-foot-9 and 5-11. Winston is 6-4, according to FSU's football media guide.
Florida State released a statement Wednesday saying Winston's status with the team has not changed, and he is expected to start Saturday against Syracuse at Doak-Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee.
Winston and the Seminoles practiced Thursday, and coach Jimbo Fisher said Winston "took every snap, every rep, practiced extremely well this week."
"He's been great," Fisher said. "He went out and practiced well and played well and eliminated, as far as I can understand, the distractions, and practiced well."
The No. 2 Seminoles have perhaps the clearest path to the Jan. 6 VIZIO BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl stadium. After Saturday's home game against Syracuse, FSU hosts Idaho and has a Nov. 30 road game at rival Florida. FSU clinched the ACC's Atlantic Division title with last weekend's 59-3 win over Wake Forest and will meet the Coastal Division winner in the Dec. 7 ACC championship game in Charlotte, N.C.
Winston, a redshirt freshman from Bessemer, Ala., has emerged as a Heisman Trophy co-favorite, along with reigning winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. Winston has passed for 2,661 yards and 26 touchdowns, and led FSU to routs of nationally ranked opponents Clemson and Miami.
Coach Jimbo Fisher has declined to comment about the investigation and would not divulge when he learned about it. He did confirm that he spoke to the team about recent distractions, saying Winston practiced well all week and his status as a team leader has not diminished.
Winston stuck to football during a roughly five-minute media interview Wednesday. University officials warned they would cut off the news conference if anyone asked questions not strictly related to football.
Tallahassee police, citing the investigation, have also been largely silent about the case as well, including why investigators waited until this week to hand over information about the case to prosecutors.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.