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Jameis Winston adviser seeks delay in conduct hearing

Published Nov. 8, 2014

Jameis Winston's adviser has asked Florida State to delay its conduct hearing into sexual assault allegations against the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.

His adviser, David Cornwell, informed the accuser's attorneys Thursday that he needs more time to prepare for the case.

"Mr. Winston wants to attend the hearing and confront these false allegations, but he expects and is entitled to do so on an even playing field," Cornwell said in a statement. "Opposing counsel say they want the hearing. They just don't want Mr. Winston to have the time to prepare for it."

The university had set the hearing for the week of Nov. 17. With the upcoming holidays and possible appeals, a delay could jeopardize whether a hearing into the December 2012 sexual encounter ever takes place.

"Mr. Cornwell obviously doesn't want his client to ever do this hearing," said the female accuser's attorney, John Clune, who has asked FSU to keep the hearing as scheduled.

FSU's policies call for students to be notified of a decision within 10 class days of a hearing, but appeals can add weeks to the process.

In a similar Title IX case at the University of Oklahoma, linebacker Frank Shannon received an injunction from the county court allowing him to stop the university's suspension. The case languished in court for weeks before the suspension was upheld.

The defending national champion Seminoles are among the favorites to advance to the inaugural college football playoff. Semifinals are Jan. 1, with the national title game Jan. 12. Winston, a redshirt sophomore, could leave school and declare for the NFL draft after FSU's season ends.

At issue is whether Winston violated up to four parts of the school's code of conduct. Potential punishments range from probation to expulsion.

Winston has denied any wrongdoing through his attorneys, and he was not charged after a 2013 criminal investigation into the accusations by a then-FSU student from Pasco County.

"We will end this baseless escapade by using the testimony of witnesses and other evidence contained in the approximately 1,000 documents and eight discs that were provided to Mr. Winston only one week ago," Cornwell said.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.