The attorney for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston said Thursday that his client and his accuser had a consensual sexual encounter, shortly after a prosecutor said the player will not be charged with sexually assaulting a woman who accused him of raping her about a year ago. Attorney Timothy Jansen said Winston and his parents are “completely satisfied” that the investigation is done.
The attorney for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston said Thursday that justice was served, shortly after a prosecutor said the Heisman Trophy candidate will not be charged with sexually assaulting a woman who accused him of raping her about a year ago.
Attorney Timothy Jansen told reporters that Winston was very happy to find out he wouldn't be charged. He said that Winston and his accuser had a consensual encounter and said that her story does not add up.
"I think justice was served," Jansen said.
State Attorney Willie Meggs made his announcement at a news conference earlier, saying the woman's memory lapses of the events last December were problematic and there was not enough evidence to win a conviction.
"After reviewing all the evidence in the case, we did not feel like we could meet that burden," Meggs said.
The quarterback said in a statement he was relieved.
"It's been difficult to stay silent through this process, but I never lost faith in the truth and in who I am," Winston said.
A search warrant from January, released hours before the news conference, detailed the woman's accusations for the first time. She told police she and friends had five to six shots at a bar and her "memory is very broken from that point forward." She said she remembered being in a cab with a "non-descript" black man and going into an apartment where she was raped.
The woman didn't identify Winston, who is black, until about a month after the alleged assault.
The woman's family has been sharply critical of the Tallahassee Police Department, accusing the agency of delaying the investigation and discouraging her from going forward with the case because of the public attention it would receive.
"The victim has grave concerns that her experience, as it unfolded in the public eye and through social media, will discourage other victims of rape from coming forward and reporting," a statement from the accuser and her family said.
The alleged assault was reported to police Dec. 7, 2012, but it wasn't until last month before the public had any idea Winston was involved in a sexual assault investigation. Only Thursday did specific details of the woman's accusations began to emerge.
Winston, 19, has led the Seminoles to a No. 1 ranking and a shot at a national championship if they defeat Duke on Saturday.
Many Heisman voters were waiting to see whether Winston will be charged with a crime before casting their ballots. The deadline for ballots is Monday, and the trophy is awarded Dec. 14.
The details of the alleged rape were contained in a search warrant for cell phone records, including text messages. It was dated Jan. 16, six days after the woman identified Winston.
The warrant said she tried to fight the man off, and at some point, another man came into the room and told him to stop. But the two went into a bathroom "where he completed the act."
Her next memory was of the suspect dressing her, putting her on a scooter and dropping her off at a campus intersection. Once she got back to her room, she called police and later went to the hospital. She said she had no idea where the alleged assault took place.
In the short time since Meggs' office took over the case, investigators have taken DNA from Winston, interviewed the alleged victim and looked at other evidence.
Meggs said the woman's blood-alcohol content at the hospital was .04 and investigators estimated it to be about .10 at the time of the incident, based on the amount of time that had passed. The legal limit to drive in Florida is .08.
Meggs said DNA found in the accuser's underwear matched Winston. His attorney, Jansen, said Winston had consensual sex with the accuser.
"He's absolutely innocent and I'm glad and pleased that Willie did a full investigation and found the same thing that we did," Jansen said. "He's relieved that it's over and now he's focused even more on football."
Jansen said Winston is satisfied with the investigation. He said of Winston and his parents, "They're completely satisfied that this was done. He can move forward."
The family of the alleged victim has said she did not know the identity of her attacker until early January. Police said last week that they tried to interview Winston in January but that Jansen at the time told them his client would not answer questions.
The family has been sharply critical of the way Tallahassee Police have handled the case. They said they pushed to have a DNA sample taken from Winston, only to be told by a police detective that it would alert Winston and make the case public. The family said attorney Patricia Carroll, who represents the woman, was warned by police that Tallahassee is a "big football town, and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable."
Tallahassee Police have defended their handling of the case and said it was placed on inactive status in February after police were told the alleged victim did not wish to prosecute the case. Carroll has denied that the woman wanted to drop the investigation.
The alleged victim was an FSU student, but she left school last month.