Prosecutor: Football won’t influence timetable in Winston case
The prosecutor investigating sexual assault allegations against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston wants the process to be ”thorough” and won’t let football dictate when he will wrap up his inquiry.
State Attorney Willie Meggs on Monday reiterated he won’t let FSU’s football schedule or Winston’s Heisman Trophy possibilities determine when his investigation will be completed.
Winston has led the Seminoles to the No. 1 ranking and they will play for a conference title Saturday, with a shot at the national crown. The quarterback is also the leading candidate for the Heisman and many voters are waiting to see if Winston will be charged with a crime before casting their ballots. The deadline for Heisman ballots to be turned in is Dec. 9.
Timothy Jansen, Winston’s attorney, said Monday he is communicating daily with his client, who ”wants it to be over.” Jansen last week publicly complained about the pace of the investigation.
”Obviously he’s focusing on football and academics and he knows it’s a process and we’re waiting for Mr. Meggs to conclude his investigation,” Jansen said.
While the allegations were initially reported to Tallahassee police nearly a year ago, the case wasn’t turned over to prosecutors until November. The Tallahassee Police Department has defended its handling of the case even though the family of the victim has said that police detectives warned them about pressing charges.
Meggs initially estimated it would only take a few weeks for prosecutors to determine whether to charge Winston. ESPN reported last month that DNA that matched Winston was found in the underwear of the accuser. While Jansen has suggested that the sex was consensual, the family of the accuser issued a statement alleging that Winston raped the woman.
Meggs decline to say exactly when his investigation will be finished.
”We’re not basing what we are doing on a football schedule or anyone else’s calendar,” Meggs said. ”We’re moving as rapidly as we can.”
Meggs has repeatedly said his office must not only present enough evidence to charge someone but determine whether there is a reasonable chance for conviction before proceeding.
”I think we need to be thorough,” Meggs said. ”We want to be able to when we get to the end of this that if someone has a question we have an answer to it.”
FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher acknowledged Sunday that the Seminoles are not ”insulated” from the ongoing investigation. But he said that the team is trying to prepare for its next opponent despite not knowing whether or not Winston will be charged.
”We control what we can control and that’s how we prepare and how we play,” Fisher said.