by Kareem Copeland
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The lawyer for Florida State’s Jameis Winston criticized State Attorney Willie Meggs Sunday for his public comments about the ongoing sexual assault investigation of the Seminoles’ quarterback and for how the prosecutor has handled the probe.
Tim Jansen released a statement expressing concerns that Meggs has made “extrajudicial statements” about the investigation during media interviews. Jansen accused Meggs of addressing a confidential law enforcement investigation and inferring that witnesses have been affected by “attorneys and collusion.”
Jansen added that ,”We respect the immense power Mr. Meggs has in his investigative process and pray that he will objectively analyze the facts as he finds them, refrain from further extrajudicial public comment, and take all necessary steps to ensure that this matter comes to a quick resolution.
“We are confident that if those steps are taken, this cloud will be lifted and Mr. Winston will be full exonerated of any wrongdoing.”
When contacted Sunday evening by The Associated Press Meggs said, “I’m not going to respond to him.”
The state attorney did say prosecutors are still interested in speaking with Winston, but have not.
“We will certainly ask to talk to him,” Meggs said. “We can’t make people talk to us. … We can’t make suspects talk.”
Meggs told the AP Saturday he is concerned that media attention has focused primarily on Winston, 19, a Heisman Trophy contender for the second-ranked Seminoles.
“We have a female victim here, too, and my job is to make sure that this victim or any victim of a crime has their rights protected,” Meggs said. “… Everything is now focused on Winston and what’s going to happen to him.”
The alleged victim no longer lives in Florida and Meggs also would like to interview her.
Tallahassee police on Wednesday released a heavily redacted two-page incident report that does not mention Winston by name, but says the incident took place between 1:30 and 2 a.m. last Dec. 7. It describes the suspect in the sexual assault case as being between 5-foot-9 and 5-11. Winston is listed by Florida State at 6-4.
The incident was reported Dec. 7, 2012, and last week Jansen said he had given officials two affidavits from eye witnesses that “completely exonerate my client.” He believed the investigation was closed months ago..
The investigation became public Wednesday after several news organizations made public records requests with the police department. The case wasn’t given to prosecutors until this week. .
“I have not been focusing on that,” Meggs said when asked about the amount of time before he received the case. “I will deal with that at some later time. Right now the important thing is protecting the rights of this victim and that’s what we’re focusing on.
“We’ll focus on placing blame once we get all the facts.”
Florida State released a statement Wednesday saying the university was aware of an investigation and noted that “there is no change in Jameis Winston’s status.”
He played Saturday and completed 19 of 21 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns in Seminoles 59-3 victory to finish the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season undefeated. Florida State hosts Idaho this week, then takes on the Gators at Florida on Nov. 30 before the ACC title game on Dec. 7 in Charlotte, N.C.