Nearly one year after Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of rape by a female FSU student, the state attorney has decided not to charge the Heisman Trophy favorite, a source who helped draft the statement to the media told Jeff Cameron, host of 97.9 ESPN Tallahassee.
Thursday’s decision clears the way for him to finish the season with the No. 1 Seminoles.
Willie Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, is scheduled to formally announce the move during a news conference Thursday at the Leon County Courthouse. Winston had faced felony charges after being accused of sexually assaulting the woman at an off-campus apartment on Dec. 7, 2012.
Meggs and his office have been investigating the case for the past three weeks, and they interviewed the accuser about two weeks ago. Last month, ESPN.com reported that DNA found in the woman’s underwear matched Winston’s DNA. His attorney, Tim Jansen of Tallahassee, said Winston had consensual sex with the woman. But the woman’s attorney, Patricia Carroll of Tampa, Fla., said the star quarterback raped her 19-year-old client, a former FSU student, who withdrew from classes after the allegations resurfaced in media reports last month.
Carroll and Jansen couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher was expected to address the media after the Seminoles’ practice on Thursday, but the school indicated that Winston likely will not speak.
If Winston, a redshirt freshman from Bessemer, Ala., had been charged with a felony crime by the state attorney’s office, he would have been immediately suspended from the team and ineligible for competition under FSU athletics department policy. Now, Winston can finish the season with the Seminoles, who are heavy favorites to defeat No. 20 Duke in Saturday night’s ACC championship game in Charlotte, N.C. With one more victory, the Seminoles (12-0, 8-0 ACC) would punch their tickets to the Jan. 6 VIZIO BCS National Championship at Rose Bowl Stadium.
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