State attorney unlikely to decide on Jameis Winston charge before Thanksgiving
Florida State Attorney Willie Meggs said Saturday it is unlikely that a final decision will be made before Thanksgiving on whether to charge Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in a sexual assault case, according to the Associated Press.
Meggs’ statement finishes up a week in which attorneys for the Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate, and his accuser exchanged contrasting statements on the alleged sexual assault.
Winston’s attorney, Timothy Jansen, suggested that the player and the alleged victim may have had consensual sex.
Jansen’s comments followed the release of results from a DNA report showing Winston’s DNA was found in the underwear of the accuser. Jansen said he was “not surprised” that the DNA was found and that he “anticipated” it would be discovered.
The family of the alleged victim issued a statement disputing the sex with Winston was consensual.
“To be clear, the victim did not consent. This was a rape,” the family said in the statement, released late Friday.
Prosecutors have the DNA report and have also interviewed the victim. Meggs on Friday said that prosecutors — who have the DNA reports and have interviewed the victim — need to complete four or five elements to their investigation before coming to a decision. A day later, Meggs said that “not everything has fallen into place.”
“I very seriously doubt that we will be finished by Thanksgiving,” Meggs said. “We still haven’t gotten everything we need to get.”
Whether or not Winston is charged with a felony could — but not automatically — determine his status for the remainder of Florida State’s season. The Orlando Sentinel reported Friday that Winston may not be suspended automatically from the football team if he is charged with a felony because the FSU athletic department code of conduct includes a provision allowing for exceptions to the suspension rule.
The Seminoles’ athletic policy manual reads: “In the event the student-athlete is charged with a felony, absent extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration, he/she 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 undefeated Seminoles — ranked No. 2 in the latest BCS poll — are scheduled to end their regular-season schedule next Saturday against Florida.
The alleged sexual assault was first reported to police in December. The family said earlier this week that the victim did not know the identity of her attacker until early January, when she identified him as Winston.