Winston investigation criticized
ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. -- The lawyer for the woman who accused Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault says key information in documents released to the press that related to the investigation was redacted.
Attorney Patricia Carroll said Friday that the information was fundamental to proving a sexual assault took place. Dramatically holding up two pieces of paper, she said a medical report included in a 248-page packet released to the media last week by the state attorney does not match what appears to be the same medical report given to her client's family.
She said injuries suffered by the accuser, the fact the woman was given painkillers and the signature of the person who prepared the document were redacted. Injuries are a key component in the state deciding to pursue charges.
"We see that as a problem that warrants further investigation," Carroll said.
"There is no other choice than to call upon the attorney general of the state of Florida to conduct an independent investigation into this case and the Tallahassee Police Department," she added.
The accuser is not looking at filing a civil lawsuit right now against Winston, Carroll said.
"Premature," she said.
Assistant state attorney Georgia Cappleman reviewed Carroll's allegations.
"Based on what Mrs. Carroll presented in the news conference, I didn't note anything that was news to me," Cappleman said.
Florida governor Rick Scott also responded to Carroll's allegations, saying in a statement Friday that there are no plans to look into the case again.
Carroll cited several inconsistencies in police reports that described the suspect as 5-foot-9 to 5-11. She said the accuser described her attacker as being 6-2. FSU lists Winston as 6-4.
In addition, Carroll said one of the two FSU players who said they were in the apartment at the time of the alleged incident, Chris Casher, told police he videotaped part of Winston's encounter with the woman but deleted it from his phone.
Carroll also questioned the reliability of DNA tests, saying her client's blood was never tested for the presence of date rape drugs.
She said her client's behavior was consistent with someone who had been drugged, but the state said tests showed the accuser was not legally intoxicated and did not have any drugs in her system.
Carroll said she told state attorney Willie Meggs' office she wanted a review of the chain of evidence because her client's urine and blood samples were taken Dec. 7 but not sent to the lab until Jan. 17. Questioning whether the urine was in fact her client's, she asked that the blood be tested for date rape drugs. She claims it was not.
"I specifically spoke to Mr. Meggs and said I don't have confidence in the validity of these tests," she said.
The accuser's memory was cited by Meggs as a key problem in securing a conviction since he said the tests did not show diminished capacity to consent. Cappleman echoed that Friday.
At the end of the day, the young lady was hysterical. Her behavior comported with [that of] a rape victim.Patricia Carroll, attorney for Jameis Winston's accuser
"She says she was raped," Cappleman said. "She can talk about that, but there are memory lapses that are difficult to explain without the presence of drugs or high levels of alcohol. Certainly, there were going to be problems with her testimony."
Carroll faulted detectives for not interviewing key witnesses, specifically someone she claimed could verify the accuser's state of mind after the alleged incident.
"At the end of the day, the young lady was hysterical," Carroll said. "Her behavior comported with [that of] a rape victim."
Carroll faulted the lead detective for getting a search warrant for her client's cellphone and social media accounts but not doing the same for Winston and his two companions immediately after the accusations were made.
"That's a question for the Tallahassee Police Department," Cappleman said. "We didn't get them because we didn't think there would be anything of value to us [that would be available] a year later."
Carroll said she was told the accuser made 48 calls after the alleged incident, a number that appeared to undermine her claim of a serious event taking place. But Carroll said her records show only 18 calls were made, six to the accuser's parents, six to what she called outcry witnesses and the others to friends.
Last week, Meggs announced there was not enough evidence to win a conviction against the redshirt freshman and Heisman Trophy candidate, mostly because there were too many gaps in the accuser's story.
On Nov. 13, after Tallahassee police turned the case over to Meggs and his staff, Tim Jansen, Winston's attorney, provided them with sworn affidavits from FSU players Casher and Ronald Darby, who said they were in the apartment on the night of the alleged incident. In eight-paragraph statements, Casher and Darby said the accuser followed them out of a bar and willingly climbed into a cab with them. Both players said the woman did not appear to be intoxicated and "was able to have a conversation with us," according to copies of the affidavits.
The men said the woman followed Winston into his apartment and bedroom. Casher wrote, "Since the door was partially open, I looked through the opening and we could see her giving Jameis oral sex. They had only been in the room a few minutes before I witnessed her giving him oral sex. Jameis was facing the door with his hands on his hips while she was in front of him on her knees. I witnessed them both take each other's clothes off and lay on the bed. Jameis and the blond female began having intercourse. As a joke, I busted into the room to embarrass Jameis. The girl yelled at me, 'Get out.' She got up off the bed and turned off the lights and tried to close the door. I could hear them continuing to have sex. She never indicated that she was not a willing participant. From what I saw, she was a more than willing participant."
On Nov. 14, Tallahassee police officer Scott Angulo and another TPD investigator attempted to interview Casher and Darby at the Moore Athletic Center on the FSU campus. According to Angulo's Dec. 5 report, FSU assistant athletic director Monk Bonasorte told them Jansen had "already arranged legal representation for Casher and Darby."
After learning from Jansen that Casher didn't yet have an attorney, Bonasorte summoned the player to his office then told police he would act as Casher's lawyer. Because Bonasorte is not an attorney, police told him he couldn't be present during the interview "in order to protect the integrity of the case."
Casher told police he didn't need an attorney present and repeated many of the details he outlined in the affidavit. But then Casher told police that he went into Winston's bedroom to "see if the female would engage in sexual activity with him as well [as has happened with other females he and Winston have brought back to their apartment]," according to the report. Casher said the woman saw him and told him to get out. Casher said he returned to the room later and tried to "video tape Winston and the female; however, when the female saw him, she again told him to leave."
Carroll said despite the inconsistencies in Casher's statements, Meggs relied heavily on them in making his decision not to pursue criminal charges against Winston.
"I believe, as the victim's attorney, that the statements are patently false," Carroll said.
Cappleman acknowledged the problems with Casher's statements.
"I have concerns about their credibility," Cappleman said. "We didn't make our decision based on those affidavits alone. Any discrepancies in their testimony would have been exposed on cross-examination."
Information from ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach and The Associated Press was used in this report.