State attorney: Jameis Winston sexual battery case decision coming Thursday

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo Sports

Florida state attorney William Meggs has scheduled a press conference at 2 p.m. ET Thursday in Tallahassee, Fla., to discuss his office's investigation into Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston on an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman last year.

''We think we have exhausted all investigative tools,'' Meggs told The Associated Press.

Winston's attorney Tim Jansen has maintained that sex between his client and the woman on the night in question was consensual and has offered affidavits from two witnesses that he says back up Winston's story.

"We are waiting for the press conference. We have not been contacted by Mr. Meggs' office," Jansen texted Yahoo Sports. "We hope the investigation was complete and shows what really happened in December. Mr. Winston did nothing wrong."

While they have no official knowledge of the decision, Tallahassee-area criminal defense attorneys with familiarity of how Meggs' office works said the decision to schedule such an announcement is a sign they believe Winston will not be charged with a crime.

"It sends a strong signal that Jameis Winston will not be charged and Mr. Meggs will use the press conference to explain the results of the thorough investigation that his office completed over the past few weeks," Chuck Hobbs, a defense attorney who previously worked for Meggs in the state attorney's office, told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday evening.

Meggs has not said whether a charge of sexual battery is coming. Last month he promised nothing more than a fair and complete investigation into the incident. If charged, Winston would be suspended from the FSU football program under the university policy. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

A 19-year-old Florida State student accused Winston of sexual assault after an early morning incident on Dec. 7, 2012. She filed an immediate report with the Tallahassee police but did not identify Winston until nearly a month later.

The case stalled out last winter with conflicting reports from the local police and the female's attorney over cooperation. It was finally handed over to Meggs' office last month after media organizations requested the specific police report, which was released under heavy redaction.

Patricia Carroll, the Tampa-based attorney who has served as a spokesperson for the family of the accuser, did not immediately respond to Yahoo Sports inquiries on Wednesday evening.

Both Hobbs and another local defense attorney believe the calling of a press conference would be out of character for Meggs if he was planning on charging Winston. Meggs has been in office since 1985.

"My experience with Meggs' office has been that unlike some jurisdictions, he doesn't like the dramatic press conference where it is announced that 'law enforcement is arresting the suspect right now,' " Hobbs told Yahoo Sports. "In almost 15 years of practice I have never seen him do that in a high-profile case."

The case has dominated local discussion due to Winston's celebrity and accusations of police misconduct by the female's attorney. It has garnered national attention because Winston is believed to be the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy and his top-ranked Seminoles play Saturday for the ACC title. A victory there may propel FSU to the BCS national championship game in January.

Meggs is known as a no-nonsense prosecutor who has never shied away from charging high-profile local athletes during his lengthy career.

The official word will come at 2 p.m. ET Thursday.

What to Read Next