The attorney for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is "deeply concerned" about comments made by the Leon County (Fla.) state attorney regarding the investigation into sexual-battery allegations against his client, he told the Tallahassee Democrat.
Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen, pointed to State Attorney Willie Meggs' comment to The Associated Press that the nearly year-long delay for Tallahassee police to notify his office about the incident gave witnesses time to talk to lawyers and corroborate their stories.
"People had 11 months to decide what they're going to say," Meggs told The AP.
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A decision on whether to charge Winston in the December 2012 incident is likely in the next few weeks, per reports.
Meggs also told The AP that too much media attention has been focused on Winston and that the rights of "the victim" must be protected.
"Such extrajudicial public statements at this early point in his investigation raise concerns in the minds of Mr. Winston and the public that Mr. Meggs may not be conducting the objective, fair, and unbiased investigation, which is the right of every person involved in the criminal justice system," Jansen wrote in a statement to the Democrat.
Jansen also said he provided sworn statements to prosecutors last week that he said will exonerate Winston.
"In December 2012 the witnesses were available, and in February law enforcement chose not to interview them," Jansen wrote. "Their story has not changed."
The state attorney's office plans to interview those witnesses, as well as the victim of the alleged incident.
Tallahassee police turned over the case to Meggs' office last week but have declined to comment on the reason for the delay. Jansen told numerous media outlets that he had been told by police in February the case was closed. Prosecutors last week said police told them that at the time, the victim did not wish to pursue charges.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.