Decision on Jameis Winston case expected Thursday

December 5, 2013

(John Raoux / AP)

A Tallahassee, Fla., prosecutor is expected to announce Thursday afternoon whether it will file sexual assault charges against Jameis Winston, quarterback of the top-ranked Florida State football team and a leading Heisman Trophy candidate.

State Attorney Willie Meggs has scheduled a 2 p.m. EST news conference, telling ESPN on Wednesday that the investigation into the incident, which occurred nearly a year ago, is complete.

“We think we have exhausted all investigative tools,” he said.

The decision ends nearly a month of intense coverage that has brought into question how the Tallahassee police handled the accusation. DNA belonging to Winston reportedly was found in the underwear of the accuser, but a lawyer for Winston stated that the sex was consensual. The alleged victim’s family has denied that. If charged with a felony, Winston must immediately be suspended from the team until the case is resolved, according to FSU’s code of conduct unless the administration finds “extraordinary circumstances” to justify allow him to remain active.

Meggs told ESPN’s Shelley Smith that his press conference would answer most of the questions about the investigation.

“When you all look at this, when the dust all settles, you’ll say, ‘Man, there were some things that could have been done back in December of ’12 that could have cleared this up a whole lot easier than November of 2013,’ ” he said.

The alleged assault, which took place at an off-campus apartment, was reported to police Dec. 7, 2012, and the family of the victim indicated that she identified him as Winston in early January. Her family has been highly critical of how police handled the matter. Police contend that the case was inactive because they were told in February that the victim had chosen not to press charges.

Fox Sports reported that a copy of a search warrant affidavit it obtained showed that the victim was unable to supply details of the attack because she had been out drinking before the alleged attack. From Fox Sports, the affadavit states:

“Her memory is very broken from that point forward,” a detective wrote in the document. “She remembers being in what she thinks is a cab” with a “non-descript” African-American man “in the back seat with her.”

“She then remembers entering an apartment on the ground floor (no other description available),” the detective wrote. “She remembers the male taking off her clothes then engaging in penile/vaginal sex with her as she told him to stop and tried to fight him off.”

…“At some point another black male with dreads came into the room and told him to stop,” the detective wrote. “The suspect led the victim into the bathroom and completed the act.

“Her next memory is the suspect dressing her then putting her on a black scooter. She told him where she lived and he dropped her off at the intersection of Call and stadium. The victim has no idea where the incident occurred.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | December 5, 2013