TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston volunteered a DNA sample last week to the Tallahassee Police Department as part of the sexual assault investigation, his attorney said Thursday, adding that he believes Winston will be exonerated and any DNA does not prove guilt.
Winston’s lawyer, Tim Jansen, said the sex between his client and the accuser “absolutely” was consensual during a press conference Thursday morning, but then retreated when pressed by reporters who asked him to confirm what he just said.
“I’m not saying that,” Jansen said. “I’m saying the eyewitnesses that were there will verify that any material that was found, or any evidence that was found, is consistent with him (doing) nothing wrong.”
ESPN first reported Wednesday night that Winston’s DNA matched a sample taken from the underwear of the accuser.
Jansen said he has not seen the results of the DNA tests and found out watching television.
“All I know is it’s very suspicious that the only news reporting agency that (State Attorney) Willie Meggs met privately with yesterday in his office was the one that reported that last night on television,” Jansen said. “And that would be ESPN.”
Meggs denied that he — or anyone in his office — released the DNA information to the media. He called the release of the information “problematic.” He said he did not know who the source of information was for ESPN.
Tallahassee Police Department spokesman David Northway told The Associated Press that the leak did not come from the police.
Meggs, who has been the lead prosecutor in the Tallahassee area for nearly 30 years, also refused to discuss the results or any other “evidence” that was part of the case. But Meggs did acknowledge that prosecutors have issued subpoenas in order to collect evidence for the ongoing investigation.
Jansen said he’s surprised the DNA results were leaked by law enforcement but, “this DNA has no impact whatsoever on this case. The two eyewitnesses that were present will exonerate” Winston.
Jansen said the DNA of one of the eyewitnesses was also taken in the last week by investigators.
“We’re not surprised (Winston’s) DNA was found,” Jansen said. “We anticipated that would be found. We’ve never ever said he wasn’t there. We never said any of that.”
Meggs would not answer directly why DNA was taken from one of the witnesses, or whether or not there is a now a possibility of multiple suspects in the case.
But Meggs said his office was “trying to find all the relevant facts in the case” and that he did not want someone to question later what evidence was or wasn’t gathered.
Winston was a top freshman recruit and backup quarterback at the time of the alleged December 2012 assault, but is now a Heisman Trophy candidate and the Seminoles are the second-ranked football team in the country.
Tallahassee police handed over information to prosecutors last week about the 11-month old case after two media organizations began requesting records associated with the incident.
Meggs said Thursday that prosecutors have made “a lot of progress” in their investigation, but would not say if, or when, prosecutors planned to interview the woman who has accused Winston of sexual assault.
“Hopefully we will have a decision about what we will do in the very near future,” Meggs said.
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