The investigation of Jameis Winston has been unlike any I can remember. Wednesday the complainant's family released a statement blasting the Tallahassee Police Department and accusing Jameis Winston of rape. Wednesday evening, the TPD called a press conference to directly dispute several claims made by the complainant's family. Specifically at issue are whether the complainant stopped cooperating with police, and whether she indicated that she did not want the case to continue earlier in the year when the case was switched to "open-inactive" status.
Late Wednesday night, ESPN's Mark Schlabach somehow obtained a report showing that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston's DNA matches with the sample collected from the complainant in the December 7, 2012 incident.
What does this mean? It indicates that Winston was with the complainant on the evening in question. However, that does not mean that anything illegal occurred. As many of you likely expected, this is setting up as a he said, she said type of case.
Here is Winston's attorney. I think his statements make it pretty clear from the line in bold what will be Winston's defense. It's also worth noting that the rumor floating around that Winston had voluntarily submitted DNA last week was true.
"We have professionally tried to maintain the dignity of an investigation," said Tim Jansen, Winston's attorney. "However, either the Tallahassee Police Department or Mr. Meggs' office has decided they're going to improperly leak evidence to the media. We are saddened to learn that someone has decided to leak evidence to the public before Mr. Meggs has had time to make a decision. The improperly leaked report, if true, has zero impact on Mr. Winston's defense, and Mr. Winston maintains his innocence. We voluntarily submitted DNA last week."
Winston said he has also submitted affidavits from two individuals, who allege they were with Winston and the accuser on the night of the incident.
"We have turned over our affidavits and we're confident in the witnesses who were there," Jansen said.
I think it's also clearer what at least one of two affidavits from the Winston camp will claim: consensual sex between the two.
The DNA match probably increases the chance of a charge, but Jameis Winston has not yet been arrested or charged with anything.
If the analysis was completed Tuesday, as the article indicated, and the DNA alone was enough to charge him, why has he not been charged? One can deduce that SA Willy Meggs is waiting on other things before making his decision to charge or not charge.
Any SA on a case like this will also consider the stories of the corroborating witnesses, whether a "rape kit" was done (and whether it shows force), and whether the complainant's story has been consistent throughout the process.
Meggs also said that he will likely not take the case to a grand jury, but rather would make the charging decision himself.
This surprised me a bit, because a grand jury returning with a charge would somewhat take heat off Meggs, because he would present it as "a jury of Winston's peers and the people of Tallahassee found probable cause to move forward with the case."
This also seems to be the first time that Meggs has addressed the media attention on Jameis Winston:
"I'm not stupid," Meggs said. "It is a young man whose life is in a fish bowl right now. I think about that. There's also a young girl whose life has been turned upside down, and her life will never be the same, either. We look at it and say, 'Which one of those is most important?' Both. It is a search for the truth, and the truth is kind of elusive sometimes."
On a relationship level for Winston, this will certainly create a difficult conversation between he and his girlfriend, whom he referenced last week, if one has not already occurred. Remember that Winston's girlfriend was coming to town less than 24 hours after the alleged incident.