The lawyer for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who was accused of rape, says that the alleged victim wanted $7 million in hush money to make the charges go away.
Winston’s lawyer, David Cornwall, sent a letter to Florida State University to inform them that negotiations had broken down between himself and the victim’s lawyers. Cornwall also released some of the details of those negotiations and characterized the victim’s demands as a sort of shake-down campaign.
In his note to the university, Cornwall says that the victim’s lawyer, Patricia Carroll, demanded a $7 million payoff and promised, “If we settle, you will never hear from my client or me again–in the press or anywhere.”
Winston’s lawyer said he rejected the $7 million offer and insisted that the player “would not assume FSU’s and the [Tallahassee Police Department’s] alleged liability, he would vigorously defend any claims against him, and he would assert his own claims against [the woman] and, possibly, FSU and law enforcement for conducting their investigations in a manner that left room to speculate that he had raped [the accuser].”
But the victim’s lawyers counter that Cornwall was “crude” in his treatment of them. “Settlement discussions were immediately unproductive as Cornwell was crude and insulting going so far as to say ‘your client likes to [expletive] football players,'” Carroll claimed.
Now that the negotiations have come to a halt, the civil lawsuit against the player will likely go forward.
Winston’s legal team will cooperate with a Title IX investigation led by the university.
In January, the victim’s lawyer said she intended to file a civil lawsuit against Winston, FSU, and the Tallahassee Police Department.
These lawsuits and threats of lawsuits that might seem to some as little else but extortion could become a growing problem in the NFL, college football, and other sports as the focus on lawbreaking by players grows.
“Suddenly, the victims of actual, perceived, exaggerated, and/or fabricated incidents of domestic violence have unprecedented power over the NFL players who allegedly engaged in misconduct,” writes NBC Sports’ Mike Florio. “Faced with potentially lengthy suspensions with pay before trial and potentially lengthy suspensions without pay after the case ends, NFL players will have a strong incentive to write a check early, and to make it all go away.”
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