Friday, April 20, 2018
Colleges

Jameis Winston's attorney: Sex with FSU student was consensual

TALLAHASSEE — An attorney for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston said Thursday that his client "absolutely" had consensual sex with a woman who has accused him of sexual assault.

Tim Jansen, a Tallahassee attorney, said Winston, 19, voluntarily submitted a DNA sample Nov. 14, the Associated Press reported. Jansen said in a news conference that he believes Winston, who has not been arrested or charged with a crime, will be cleared of any wrongdoing and the presence of DNA does not mean he is guilty.

ESPN.com reported late Wednesday night that Winston's sample matched the sample taken from the underwear of the woman after she reported a sexual assault early on Dec. 7, 2012.

"We're not surprised (Winston's) DNA was found," Jansen told the AP. "We anticipated that would be found. We've never ever said he wasn't there. We never said any of that."

Jansen also told the AP that there were two eyewitnesses, and DNA of one of them was taken last week.

Calls to the accuser's attorney, Patricia Carroll, were not returned. The Tampa Bay Times generally does not name anyone who might be a victim of a sexual assault.

State Attorney Willie Meggs interviewed the woman Thursday, ESPN reported.

Jansen said he learned the DNA report had been leaked while watching television and appeared to blame Meggs' office.

"All I know is, it's very suspicious that the only news reporting agency that Willie Meggs met privately with yesterday in his office was the one that reported that last night on television," Jansen told the AP. "And that would be ESPN."

During an interview with the Times on Thursday afternoon, Meggs denied leaking the DNA analysis but otherwise declined to comment on the leak or what evidence has been collected.

Tallahassee police spokesman David Northway would only say that his agency has not released any information since the police chief's statement Wednesday evening.

A spokesman with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that conducted the DNA analysis said the results were sent to the State Attorney's Office and police.

The DNA leak is the latest development to raise public questions in the investigation of Winston, the star quarterback and Heisman Trophy front-runner for the No. 2-ranked Seminoles.

Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, has publicly wondered why Tallahassee police waited 11 months to tell his office about a high-profile investigation.

At his Leon County Courthouse office Thursday, Meggs said law enforcement agencies usually inform his office about felony investigations so his staff can help determine if an arrest warrant should be issued. Big investigations such as homicides, incidents with celebrity victims or suspects, or crimes committed by police officers come to him directly.

"If it's big, if it's high-profile, if it's something I need to know . . . they're going to tell me about that," Meggs said. "I may not do anything about it, but I know about it."

In a statement released Wednesday, the accuser's family questioned why police waited four months to report blood work results and why investigators didn't take Winston's DNA immediately after the woman identified him as a suspect in early January.

"If that was our shop, I'd have somebody in here," Meggs said. " 'What were you thinking? Why didn't we do this?' Good grief."

The family also questioned the way an investigator from Tallahassee Police Department's special victims unit handled the case. The family said Detective Scott Angulo told the accuser's attorney that the woman would be "raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable" if she pursued the case.

Tallahassee police officials declined to respond to those allegations, saying further statements could jeopardize the case's integrity. Angulo also declined to speak with the Times Thursday.

He has met with a representative of his police union who grew concerned after reading the family's allegations. Stephanie Webster, deputy general counsel for the Florida Police Benevolent Association, said a gag order might be necessary to stop the leaks and speculation, and that it would be irresponsible for Angulo to respond to the family's claims.

Angulo was hired by the Tallahassee Police Department in 2002 and has received high marks on annual evaluations. His disciplinary file contains only two minor incidents for which he received oral reprimands: He backed his police vehicle into a sign in 2008, and he didn't immediately turn in several identification cards as evidence in 2004.

Meggs said his office is making progress in its investigation. He reaffirmed Thursday that a decision on whether to file charges could be made within a week.

"I don't want there to be anything we haven't thought of," Meggs said. "We're going to make sure that, to the best of our ability, we've thought of everything that we can do to seek out the facts of the case."

Tia Mitchell can be reached at [email protected] Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected]

 
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