(AP) Attorney asks Fla. AG to investigate Winston case
By TAMARA LUSH
A lawyer for the woman who accused Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault asked Friday for Florida’s attorney general to independently examine the rape investigation, claiming it was riddled with problems.
Attorney Patricia Carroll called on the attorney general to investigate the Tallahassee Police Department’s handling of the case, saying that detectives failed to interview key witnesses and that forensic tests were unreliable and incomplete. However, spokeswoman Jenn Meale said the Attorney General’s Office hadn’t yet received a formal request from Carroll.
Carroll described the problems with the investigation as “so significant and so multiple.”
The lead detective got a search warrant for her client’s cellphone and social media accounts but failed to do the same for Winston and his two companions immediately after the accusations were made, Carroll said.
Investigators also focused an unusual amount of attention on the fact the alleged victim had the DNA of her boyfriend on her underpants in addition to that of Winston, Carroll said. The consensual sexual encounter with the boyfriend happened before the encounter involving Winston and wouldn’t have been allowed to be introduced in a courtroom, she said.
Winston’s attorney has said any sex between his client and the accuser was consensual.
“The bulk of the investigation was into the rape victim,” she said. “I’m looking at an investigation of a rape victim, not a rape suspect.”
Last week, Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs said there was not enough evidence to win a conviction against the FSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate, mostly because there were too many gaps in his accuser’s story.
Meggs didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment Friday.
Tallahassee police have defended their handling of the case.
“The case is closed, and we continue to support Mr. Meggs as we have done throughout this process,” David Northway, a spokesman for the Tallahassee Police Department, said Friday.
Winston, 19, has led the Seminoles to a No. 1 ranking and a shot at a national championship next month.
Associated Press writer Gary Fineout contributed to this report from Tallahassee.