TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston filed a counterclaim Friday against Zephyrhills' Erica Kinsman, alleging her rape accusations are "false, defamatory … and have maliciously and impermissibly interfered with Mr. Winston's business and personal relationships."
"Mr. Winston brings this action against Ms. Kinsman out of necessity, not malice or ill will," the court filing said. "Nonetheless, Ms. Kinsman's false statements have irreparably harmed in his professional and personal life."
The counterclaim seeks damages in excess of $75,000.
The U.S. District Court filing in Orlando came three weeks after Kinsman filed a civil suit in Orange County, accusing the No. 1 overall NFL draft pick and former Florida State star of sexual battery during a December 2012 encounter. She is seeking damages in excess of $15,000 and a jury trial.
Winston, 21, has maintained the sex was consensual. He was never arrested, and the State Attorney's Office declined to press charges in December 2013, citing a lack of evidence and Kinsman's "problematic" testimony.
In a court filing, Winston's attorneys, John F. Meyers and David Cornwell, said Kinsman's accusation has been shot down six times, by FSU, the Tallahassee Police Department and the State Attorney's Office.
"However, Ms. Kinsman has been successful in one major area," the filing said. "She has mounted a false and vicious media campaign to vilify Mr. Winston with the objective of getting him to pay her to go away. Ms. Kinsman is motivated by the most insidious objectives — greed."
The 63-page filing states 40 different times that Winston did not commit a crime, and it details his version of the case.
It alleges that Kinsman — then an FSU student — willingly participated in the encounter at Winston's off-campus apartment and at one point asked to move from the bedroom with a broken door to somewhere more private. It also notes inconsistencies in her previous testimonies, including claims that she had been hit on the head or been drugged, when there was no evidence to support either.
"If nothing else, Ms. Kinsman has been consistent at being inconsistent," Friday's filing said.
The filing questioned whether any outcry evidence has been produce, and it refuted a claim that Kinsman felt coerced to leave the Tallahassee bar with Winston that night. It also said her story shifted regarding a shot of alcohol she said she was given.
"To aid her false allegation of rape (the "False Allegation"), Ms. Kinsman tampered with witnesses, interfered with criminal investigations and manufactured new false assertions each time a prior lie was rebutted by the truth," the filing said.
Those assertions and the "almost inconceivable amount of media attention" also led to the loss of lucrative endorsement deals, the filing alleges. Her goal, according to the counterclaim, was to change the public's view of Winston and hurt his image until he paid for her silence.
"Since he is now alleging injury to his great reputation, all of his past conduct will become front and center in the case and the burden of proof will be on him," said John Clune, one of Kinsman's attorneys. "I'm not sure how well that is going to work out for him, but he certainly has the right to try."
Tampa Bay drafted Winston on April 30, two weeks after Kinsman's lawsuit. He signed a $25.35 million contract and began his NFL career with a team rookie camp on Friday.
Friday's filing repeats claims Cornwell has previously made that Kinsman's first attorney, Patricia Carroll, tried to settle the case for $7 million. Kinsman's attorneys have previously stated that Cornwell first reached out to discuss negotiations.
Also Friday, Winston's attorneys filed a motion to move the case to the U.S. District Court's Northern District in Tallahassee.
Other litigation remains pending. Kinsman sued FSU in January, alleging that it failed to follow the gender-equity law Title IX in its handling of the case. A federal court has taken FSU's request to dismiss the case under advisement, and a jury trial is scheduled for August 2016.
Contact Matt Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.