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State attorney might decide Winston within two weeks

FSU’s Jameis Winston, part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault, is scheduled to play today against Syracuse.

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FSU’s Jameis Winston, part of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault, is scheduled to play today against Syracuse.

TALLAHASSEE — State Attorney William Meggs, who is investigating Jameis Winston's role in an alleged sexual assault, said his office could decide within two weeks whether to pursue criminal charges against the Florida State quarterback.

The State Attorney's Office with the Second Judicial Circuit in Tallahassee has questioned several witnesses the past two days after police referred the nearly year-old case Wednesday, Meggs told espn.com on Friday.

"We are making interesting progress," he said. "I think we can get to a point where we can make a decision by next week or the week after."

If authorities charge Winston, 19, with a felony, the redshirt freshman and Heisman Trophy candidate would be immediately suspended and ineligible to play under FSU athletic department policies.

The Seminoles, No. 2 in the BCS standings, play Florida on Nov. 30 and have clinched a spot in the ACC championship game set for Dec. 7.

The Tallahassee Police Department has confirmed only that it is investigating a report of an alleged sexual assault on Dec. 7, 2012. It's unclear, even to Meggs, why police waited 11 months to refer the case.

The case is a "cluster," one that did not follow normal protocol, Meggs told cbssports.com.

"Our office would have been informed about this as soon as it occurred," he said. "We first learned about it at 10:02 a.m. on Wednesday. … I don't know if that's alarming, but it's a fact in the case. We can't question motives. What the Police Department has done is clammed up."

David Northway, a spokesman for the Police Department, when asked about the timeline of the case, said, "I have no comment about the open, active investigation."

"We usually approve these probable cause warrants or reject them," Meggs said. "We didn't get one in this case. I get them in most every other case that comes into fruition, whether they want to make an arrest or they don't want to make an arrest."

Tim Jansen, Winston's lawyer, said a complaint was made by a woman, whose name has not been released, on Dec. 7, 2012, at 4:10 a.m. The incident report described a sexual assault at an off-campus apartment but reportedly did not name Winston.

Jansen told the Tallahassee Democrat that a Tallahassee police officer told him in February that the case against Winston was closed. He added Winston denied any wrongdoing.

Meggs said he was told Jansen had a copy of the entire police report, which he considers "not good" because his office doesn't provide reports to lawyers representing possible suspects.

His office has assigned two investigators to the case. Winston is not expected to talk with investigators.

Meggs said he was making arrangements for the complainant, who is out of state, to be brought to Tallahassee for an interview. He said that his office was interviewing a witness Friday afternoon that he said the police had been unable to locate. Whether the case moves forward is determined by Meggs' office.

Winston is scheduled to play today when FSU takes on Syracuse .

Cal: An unidentified football player was suspended for instigating a locker room altercation that sent freshman running back Fabiano Hale to the hospital with a concussion and needing stitches around one ear.

UCLA: Receiver Nick Pasquale's blood-alcohol content was 0.26 percent when he was hit and killed by a car Sept. 8, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Pasquale was walking home from a friend's house when he was struck by the car.

Other sports

USF MEN in AAC Soccer final: Stiven Salinas' goal in the second overtime lifted fifth-seeded USF (8-3-8) into the American Athletic Conference tournament final with a 2-1 victory over eighth-seeded Rutgers at Frisco, Texas. The Bulls play UConn, a 2-0 winner over UCF, on Sunday.

"It was really refreshing because we've had so many games go into overtime where we didn't get the goal and I felt like we deserved the game, so I was pleased that they were able to get it," USF coach George Kiefer said.

Women's soccer: Carson Pickett scored twice as host and top seed Florida State (19-1-3) rolled to a 5-0 victory over South Alabama in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. FSU advances to face Mississippi.

Cross country: Florida's Mark Parrish (10 kilometers in 29:44.24) won the NCAA South Region men's title in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and teammate Jimmy Clark was runnerup as the Gators took second as a team and qualified for the national meet. FSU was third and USF 26th. Only the top two teams automatically qualify for nationals. FSU's Colleen Quigley (6K in 19:58.55) won the South Region women's title as the Seminoles captured the team title. UF was fourth and USF 22nd.

State attorney might decide Winston within two weeks 11/15/13 [Last modified: Saturday, November 16, 2013 12:27am]
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