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Attorney: Witnesses back Winston

The SportsXchange

Two witnesses with Jameis Winston when an alleged sexual assault took place last December provided police with affidavits that support the Florida State quarterback, his attorney said Thursday.

One witness has talked with police and the other is in the process of being interviewed about the alleged Dec. 7, 2012, sexual battery, attorney Tim Jansen told ESPN.com.

Tallahassee police are investigating the incident but would not confirm that the witnesses were interviewed. Jansen said Winston has not spoken with police but added, "We'll cooperate as much as we can."

The state attorney received the case from Tallahassee police on Wednesday with a request for further investigate the allegations. Jansen said it was his understanding that the case was closed in February.

"We had no knowledge of this until (Wednesday)," State Attorney Willie Meggs said Thursday. "I have made our office available to do whatever needs to be done. We will try to come to the right and just resolution in this case, wherever it leads us."

No charges have been filed. The reason for the delay in turning over the case to prosecutors was unexplained. A decision on how to pursue it is expected to come in the next week.

Jansen is hoping for a quick resolution.

"It's a distraction that a 19-year-old kid leading his team to a possible national championship and a Heisman Trophy doesn't need at this point," Jansen said. "Mr. Meggs' office hopefully will do a thorough and independent investigation and Mr. Winston will be exonerated as soon as possible."

Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said her office has communicated with the complainant and her aunt, an attorney who is representing her.

Winston practiced with the second-ranked Seminoles (9-0) on Thursday and is preparing to start Saturday's game against Syracuse.

"He's been great," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He went out and practiced well and played well and eliminated, as far as I can understand, the distractions, and practiced well."

Fisher would not comment about the specifics of the case.

Winston is considered one of the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy. The redshirt freshman has passed for 2,661 yards and 26 touchdowns in his first season as a starter.

Florida State president Eric Barron urged caution until more details are known.

"The only thing we say is, 'Let's not prejudge.' From any sort of legal basis, the university is hands off," Barron said. "We have to wait for the professionals to do their job and make their ruling."

Florida State police released a report on Thursday that indicates a woman called university police at 3:22 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2012, to report a sexual battery. Campus police turned the investigation over to Tallahassee police when it was discovered the alleged incident occurred off campus.

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