Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has filed a response and counterclaim to the lawsuit filed against him over an alleged sexual assault. The original lawsuit was filed on April 16 by Erica Kinsman, who accused Winston of sexual assault in Dec. 2012. The counterclaim was filed in federal court as Winston recently filed a motion to remove the lawsuit from state to federal court, claiming the diversity of citizenship and amount in controversy requirements had been satisfied.
Winston is suing Kinsman for defamation, defamation per se and tortious interference with prospective business advantage.
Winston was investigated over the incident by Tallahassee police, and in late 2013 by the state attorney's office, but no charges were filed. Florida State held a conduct hearing related to the incident but he was ultimately cleared there as well -- all three investigations concluded there was a lack of evidence supporting Kinsman's claims.
A lawsuit was not unexpected, however. Winston's attorney, David Cornwell, said following the results of the investigations that they would counterclaim against the accuser and her attorneys over the statements being made about the 2015 No. 1 overall draft pick if any lawsuit were to be filed.
After filing the initial lawsuit, Kinsman's attorney John Clune released a statement claiming his client had to deal with a "delinquent police investigation, a hostile FSU athletic department and Mr. Winston's bullying lawyer."
"Erica hopes to show other survivors the strength and empowerment that can come from refusing to stay silent no matter what forces are against you," Clune said. "Jameis Winston in contrast has proven time and time again to be an entitled athlete who believes he can take what he wants. He took something here that he was not entitled to and he hurt someone. There are consequences for that behavior and since others have refused to hold him accountable, our client will."
Winston's attorney David Cornwell also released a statement after the initial filing.
"This stunt was expected," said Cornwell. "Ms. Kinsman's false accusations have already been exposed and rejected six times. This time will be no different. Mr. Winston welcomes the opportunity to clear his name with the truth."
On April 30, the Buccaneers selected Winston with the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston's first NFL practice was held Friday with the start of the Bucs' rookie minicamp.