Jameis Winston Case Ends With No Charges Filed

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Ultimately the Jameis Winston case boiled down to the credibility of the alleged victim’s claims of rape against the sworn statements of Winston’s two friends that the sex acts were consensual.

The alleged victim said she was raped by a man that she did not know. She submitted to a rape test and contacted authorities within hours of what she believed was a sexual assault. A month later she realized who her assailant was and informed authorities. But her story was not iron clad and her recollections were spotty. Her one consistent theme was this — she maintained she was raped for nearly a year, since the December 7th encounter between she and Winston.  

Jameis Winston, on the other hand, never spoke to authorities when they asked for his side of the story. Instead his defense team proferred two afffidavits from friends who claimed to have witnessed a consensual sexual encounter between the woman and Winston in the bedroom of Winston’s apartment.

Those two friends asserted that they’d seen a consensual sexual relationship through Winston’s bedroom door, which didn’t lock. They also said that the alleged victim had been a willing participant in the trip back to Winston’s apartment and that she hadn’t been too drunk to consent to sexual activity.

Those stories contradicted what the victim told police, that she’d passed out in Winston’s apartment, refused consent, and been sexually assaulted in both the bedroom and the bathroom. 

You can read the 86 page investigative report – much of which is duplicative – at this link here. 

The line between rape and consensual sex, from a legal perspective, is often not clear cut. While we all prefer to imagine that there are no gray areas in such cases – that it’s easy to determine whether or not a rape occurred — the reality is frequently much different. Sexual assault cases are notoriously difficult to investigate, prosecute, and resolve.

Especially when any defendant must be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Indeed there was enough conflicting evidence in this case that it did not meet the standard to justify charges against Winston. That standard — a reasonable likelihood of conviction – was not met in this case according to state attorney Willie Meggs. That was the most important takeaway of a rambling, often oddly and inappropriately humorous, press conference sojourn into the particulars of the case. 

Meggs, who sucked on a candy and appeared jocular throughout what should have been a serious press conference, was asked if the lack of charges represented vindication for Winston. He declined to say so, suggesting that we read the report and draw our own conclusions.

After reading the report it’s fair to say that this case dwelt in a legal gray area, somewhere between a rape and consensual sex, not enough to say a rape occurred and not enough to say a rape didn’t occur either.

Absent new evidence – and in this case it’s hard to think of what could emerge if you read the investigative report – the criminal proceeding is over.
But we’re still left with quite a few questions. 
Let’s examine them below. 
1. So what now?
Winston wasn’t charged with a crime and he won’t be.
Winston’s accuser, however, has three more years to file a civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages for the alleged assault.
If she elects to file a lawsuit the standard of proof in a civil lawsuit is a preponderance of the evidence. That is, instead of the high burden of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial, the woman would just have to establish that it was more likely than not that Winston raped her.
In a civil lawsuit the woman would be seeking monetary damages for Winston’s tortious misbehavior.
It’s also possible, even likely, that no civil case will ever be filed and that the two parties will enter into a settlement negotiations. Such a settlement would come with a confidentiality provision that forbids the woman from discussing the case or its outcome in exchange for payment. 
But, again, that’s a civil remedy, one that’s distinct from the criminal court. 
2. Will there be any charges filed against the woman for making a false accusation?
That’s significant because it demonstrates that state attorney Willie Meggs found her statement credible enough that, at the very least, he couldn’t prove she made it up. 
Meggs couldn’t prove that the alleged victim here was lying any more than he could prove that Winston raped her. 
3. Were the Tallahassee police at fault?

Meggs tiptoed around direct criticism of the police while stating on multiple occasions that he wished the investigation had been more prompt.

It took eleven months for DNA testing of Winston to occur.

Those 11 months also allowed ample time to provide a defense for Winston.

Would the result have been different if the case had been handled more promptly?


But Meggs believed he conducted a thorough investigation. 

4. Does Jameis Winston have any legal recourse if he feels as if he’s been unfairly accused of a crime he didn’t commit?

Yes, he could sue his accuser in a civil court as well, probably for defamation.

But there is zero chance of this happening.

While lawyers like to make threats at press conferences on behalf of their clients, defamation lawsuits are exceedingly rare in cases such as these.

Winston has already refused to speak to authorities in the criminal investigation, filing a defamation lawsuit would require him to submit to a deposition under oath about this sexual encounter. There’s no way he’s going to be willing to do that and any attorney who advised him to do so would be a fool.

5. Were the Florida State message board conspiracies vindicated?

I can’t even count the number of absurd message board theory emails I received.

All of them painted Jameis Winston as an entirely innocent victim in this case. 

Based on the facts in the investigative report none of them had an ounce of truth.

Attorney Meggs said that he’d found no evidence of any preexisting relationship between the alleged victim and Winston or of any relationship after this incident. 

If you needed any further evidence — and I hope you didn’t — trusting fan message boards during criminal investigations is akin to asking a random person on the street to perform an appendectomy on you.

Just a bad idea all around. 

The end result?

This woman believes she was raped and Jameis Winston does not believe he raped her.

There’s not sufficient proof to establish that the woman lied or that Winston raped her.

So we’re left with a case that lies somewhere in the middle between rape and consent. 

That leaves rabid Florida State fans who were convinced Jameis Winston was wronged unhappy at his lack of innocence, but it also leaves those who wanted a message sent to rapists everywhere that no one is above the law unhappy as well. 

The final result is probably just given the factual findings in the investigation. 

None of us know what really happened that night. 

And we probably never will. 

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions, and started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers.