A sexual battery case against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston stalled when an attorney said to represent the accusing woman indicated she decided not to press charges, according to the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat.
The Democrat obtained an email from Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors Thompson to city commissioners:
"Shortly thereafter a representative of the young woman's family who is an attorney contacted TPD and said the young woman had changed her mind and did not wish to prosecute," the email said.
However, after the Tallahassee Police Department contacted the woman to inform her of media requests for information on the case, her attorney, who is apparently anonymous, sent a followup letter to TPD Sgt. Joanna Baldwin. The attorney cited Florida's Rape Shield Law and requested that no information be released referring to the incident regarding the woman as "her rape."
Winston has not been charged with any crime, nor has he been named a suspect. He's reportedly declined to speak with police. He's remained the Seminoles' starting quarterback, taking his normal load of first-string snaps in practice and appearing before media, though not to talk about the ongoing case.
The investigation, which dates back to December 2012, was turned over from the Tallahassee Police Department to State Attorney Willie Meggs' office after reporters inquired about the case. It had been inactive since February or shortly thereafter, but a review determined the case should be reactivated. An open-inactive investigation cannot be reactivated due to media inquiry, but only if new information is presented. More from the Democrat:
[TPD spokesperson David] Northway said the investigation file of an "open-inactive case" may be released to the public if requested once the detective reviews it and determines there are no new angles to pursue. In order for a case to be reactivated - and closed from public view - a new piece of information or lead has to emerge. A media request on its own cannot cause a case to be reactivated, he said.
In Winston's case, that new piece of information came last week, Northway said.
The media inquiry into the investigation is what prompted a review, and it also appears to be what prompted the response from the woman's attorney to the TPD.
Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen, has already stated his displeasure with the State Attorney's public comments on the case, saying they could bring fairness into doubt.
"Such extrajudicial public statements at this early point in his investigation raise concerns in the minds of Mr. Winston and the public that Mr. Meggs may not be conducting the objective, fair, and unbiased investigation which is the right of every person involved in the criminal justice system."