TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — William Meggs, state attorney for Florida's 2nd judicial circuit, told USA TODAY Sports he does not expect Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston to speak with his office's investigators regarding an alleged sexual assault on Dec. 7, 2012 that has resurfaced this week.
"You can't compel him to talk," Meggs said. "He has a right against self-incrimination, so I doubt very seriously we're going to get a statement from Jameis Winston."
Meggs, however, said he has assigned two investigators to the case and vowed they will "get to the bottom of it and do the right thing."
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"Since it's now been dumped in our laps, we're going to make sure it is properly investigated," Meggs said Friday morning at his office in downtown Tallahassee. "Whether it has been so far, I don't know."
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Meggs, who was out of town when news of the initial complaint surfaced on Wednesday, said he had only read through half of the initial report compiled by Tallahassee police and that the alleged victim had not yet been interviewed by investigators for the state attorney's office.
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That makes it unlikely he will be able to determine in the next few days if there's probable cause to arrest Winston, who has led the No. 2-ranked Seminoles to a 9-0 record. If he were to be charged with a felony, he would be immediately suspended from the football team per university rules.
The degree of Winston's alleged involvement, however, is difficult to ascertain since the police report released publicly on Wednesday was heavily redacted and included the physical description of a person six inches shorter than the 6-foot-4 quarterback.
Meggs cautioned against speculating about the reason for that discrepancy.
"I would say what y'all have doesn't tell you anything," he said.
Meggs said in cases like this one, law enforcement agencies are supposed to provide his office with a probable cause affidavit at the time of the incident, at which point the state attorney would decide whether probable cause exists to get a warrant. His office never got a probable cause affidavit in this case, which suggests either Tallahassee police decided there was nothing to prosecute or the alleged victim declined to cooperate after filing the initial complaint.
Now that the investigation has been reopened, the primary challenge for investigators will be the 11-month lag in time.
"It's not as easy as it would be if we were fresh on it, obviously, but it's not impossible," Meggs said. "I think we're going to be able to reconstruct the events of that night."
In the meantime, Florida State has made no change regarding Winston's status with the football team. He is expected to start Saturday against Syracuse, and at no point is he legally obligated to speak with investigators.
Dan Wolken, a national college football reporter for USA TODAY Sports, is on Twitter @DanWolken.
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