Florida State star redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston will not be charged with a crime related a sexual assault investigation dating back to December 2012, according to an ESPN Tallahassee report. State Attorney Willie Meggs is expected to announce the news during a 2 p.m. ET press conference.
Update: Meggs confirmed Winston will not be charged. Here's a quick summary of some of his comments.
Winston has led the Seminoles to national-title contention and is the Heisman Trophy front-runner.
Last year, a Tallahassee woman accused Winston of sexually assaulting her, but the investigation stalled in February 2013 or shortly thereafter. Following a media inquiry in November, the Tallahassee Police Department conducted a review of the case and turned it over to Meggs, who decided to reactivate it after his own review. However, law enforcement did not find sufficient evidence to charge Winston with a crime.
Thursday morning, Tomahawk Nation obtained the original Tallahassee Police report, which had only been released to the public in heavily redacted form. The document alleges a lack of cooperation by the complainant and a couple of details that changed over time. Later Thursday, the Tampa Bay Times and others reported search warrants alleged the woman had been drinking at a bar before the alleged incident, but the toxicology report indicates she wasn't under the influence.
The case has been notably contentious, with both sides firing statements at each other as evidence emerged in public. Results of a leaked DNA test reportedly linked the quarterback with his accuser. In an email from Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors to city commissioners, obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat, Favors indicated that the investigation went dry because the woman decided not to press charges. However, the alleged victim's attorney, Patricia Carroll, disputed that claim and said it was the TPD that encouraged her not to pursue the case.
Tim Jansen, Winston's attorney, has had his own complaints about the case. Jansen criticized public comments made by Meggs, saying they could impact the fairness, and slammed law enforcement for leaking results of the DNA test, while also saying the sex was consensual. Jansen will comment on the decision following Meggs' remarks.
Winston has not given a public statement on the case yet (he's expected to do so this afternoon), but his head coach, Jimbo Fisher, expressed trust throughout that his quarterback would not be charged.
Barring an unforeseen turn of events, Winston will be available down the stretch of the Seminoles' possible title run. In the regular season, he completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 3,490 yards and 35 touchdowns and ran for 134 yards and three touchdowns.
No. 1 FSU plays No. 20 Duke for the ACC Championship on Saturday. A (very likely) win in Charlotte means a trip to Pasadena to play for the BCS National Championship, where the Noles will again likely be favored. Winston was already the clear Heisman favorite.
Update: A statement from the alleged victim's lawyer:
The victim and her family appreciate the State Attorney's efforts in attempting to conduct a proper investigation after an inordinate delay by the Tallahassee Police Department.
The victim in this case had the courage to immediately report her rape to the police and she relied upon them to seek justice.
The victim has grave concerns that her experience, as it unfolded in the public eye and through social media, will discourage other victims of rape from coming forward and reporting.
A statement from Winston:
I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates for standing by me during a difficult time. I also want to thank the State Attorney's Office for examining all of the facts and reaching a decision in a conclusive manner. It's been difficult to stay silent through this process, but I never lost faith in the truth and in who I am. I'm very relieved to be able to continue my education at Florida State and I'm excited I can now get back to helping our team achieve its goals.
Documents related to the investigation were also released: