If Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is to be charged with sexual battery it will happen within the next 10 days according to ESPN reports.
At this time William Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit has all along said he wants to move the process along for all parties involved.
New information came out yesterday from ESPN about the case. A DNA analysis completed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday confirmed that DNA provided by Winston matched the sample taken from the underwear of the woman who has accused him of sexual battery.
According to the DNA analysis report, a copy of which was viewed by ESPN.com on Wednesday, the Florida state crime lab determined the chance of the DNA in the woman’s underwear being a match for someone other than Winston was one in 2.2 trillion.
Police obtained a sexual assault kit on Dec. 7, 2012, when the accuser reported the alleged incident had occurred at an off-campus apartment. Winston’s DNA was recently obtained through a buccal swab he provided to authorities investigating the case.
The DNA match alone does not prove that Winston, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, sexually assaulted the woman, as the accuser’s family claimed in a statement released Wednesday by a Tampa, Fla.-based attorney. But it does indicate that Winston, who has yet to talk to Tallahassee police or the state attorney investigating the case, had his DNA associated with the accuser on Dec. 7, 2012, when the accuser said she was sexually assaulted.
Meggs said his office is still investigating the case, which was referred to his office by Tallahassee police only last week.
“Everybody wants to know what’s going on,” Meggs said earlier Wednesday. “So do we. We’re in the process of trying to figure out what’s going on. We haven’t determined how it’s going to turn out.”
Meggs couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the DNA report Wednesday night. Tim Jansen, Winston’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to a text message from an ESPN reporter.
When Meggs was asked Wednesday whether he believed his office could adequately investigate the case more than 11 months after the crime allegedly occurred, he said: “I’m pretty confident, as much as anybody can be. There are two kinds of evidence: testimonial and physical. We’ll have what we have at the end of the day and then we’ll evaluate what we have.”
On Wednesday night, Tallahassee interim police chief Tom Coe said the accuser stopped cooperating with police in February. A statement released earlier Wednesday by the accuser’s family through her attorney, Patricia Carroll of Tampa, said Tallahassee police warned the accuser not to pursue the case, saying Det. Scott Angulo told Carroll, “Tallahassee was a big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable.”
Coe contends Tallahassee police made the case inactive only after the accuser stopped communicating with them. Coe told the Tallahassee Democrat on Tuesday that the police department reviewed the case after media outlets filed open records requests for the case file. Coe said the open records requests alone couldn’t change a case from open-inactive to open-active, but that new evidence or leads would have to be found to change the investigation’s status.
“In February 2013, the case was classified as open, but inactive, when the victim in the case broke off contact with TPD, and her attorney indicated she did not want to move forward at that time,” Coe said Wednesday.
In a statement released to the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday, the accuser’s attorney said, “It was never the intent of the victim or the family for this to become public,” but went on to provide a scathing review of the police’s handling of the case.
The woman accusing Winston initially reported the incident Dec. 7, 2012. Coe said police investigated the incident, taking witness testimony and collecting evidence.
According to Jansen, who has been representing Winston, police approached him about the case in February but soon after assured him the case was no longer being investigated. Jansen said he reported that to both Winston and Florida State.
When records requests from multiple media outlets were made to Tallahassee police last week, investigators re-examined the case and forwarded it to the state attorney’s office. Meggs is currently reviewing the case and will decide whether charges will be brought against a potential suspect.
Meggs told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he probably will not take the case before a grand jury, saying his office would ultimately decide whether it believes it has sufficient evidence to charge Winston with a crime.
“I’m not stupid,” Meggs said. “It is a young man whose life is in a fish bowl right now. I think about that. There’s also a young girl whose life has been turned upside down, and her life will never be the same, either. We look at it and say, ‘Which one of those is most important?’ Both. It is a search for the truth, and the truth is kind of elusive sometimes.”
Carroll’s statement also said police failed to do a proper investigation, did not collect blood work or DNA samples from Winston and refused to interview Winston’s roommate, who the accuser says witnessed the attack. The statement also criticized police for approaching Winston’s attorney in February with details of the case.
Coe did not specifically contradict any of the claims made in the accuser’s statement but said, “There are many statements being made daily, some of which are factual, some are not factual. We can’t go into detail on that tonight, but there will be a point in time when we can comment on those issues.”
Winston met with media Wednesday, but Florida State athletic department staff would not allow him to answer any questions relating to the investigation. His status with the team has not changed, according to FSU, and he is expected to start Saturday’s game against Idaho. Meggs said his office has interviewed several witnesses but the timetable for a decision on whether charges will be filed remains vague.
“When we can say more about this case, we certainly will,” Coe said Wednesday. “And we look forward to that day. We hope to move it forward as quickly as we can in coordination with the state attorney and bring closure to it.”
Information from ESPN.com reporter David Hale and ESPN’s Mark Schwarz is included in this report.