Jameis Winston’s Attorney Blasts ESPN, Calls Accuser a Liar

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Dec 6, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston (5) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Getty Images North America

Appearing on the Erik Kuselias radio show this morning Jameis Winston’s attorney, David Cornwell, came out firing, attacking the woman in this case, her attorneys, and ESPN. 

In particular he accused an ESPN reporter of covering this case like “a personal PR flak.” He also accuses the woman in this case and the attorney’s representing her of lying. 

I’m posting the entire transcript here so you can read the entire interview for yourself, but I’ve highlighted several portions in bold. 

EK: Major Harding said, “I don’t find him more credible, I don’t find her more credible. She has to have a burden of proof of being more credible and she’s not, so I’m sending everybody home. Do you agree with that reading or did you read it differently?

DC: That’s precisely what he wrote. I don’t find one story more persuasive than the other. She has the burden of showing at minimum 51 percent. I’m not surprised because she adjusted her story for the 7th time and moved the alleged rape out of the bedroom where one of the teammates testified that it appeared to be consensual, and into a bathroom where nobody else was present of claimed to observe the act. This was the 7th change in her story and in a he-said-she-said case, the best the accused can hope for is 50-50, right?

EK: Is the single biggest change in her story that she changes her account of the location of where she claimed the alleged attack occurred?

DC: Unfortunately no. There are numerous other areas where she’s changed her story. Frankly, you know what? There are no winners in this and I feel sorry for this young lady. I think that she was abused by her lawyers. To walk her into this hearing room and say that she suffered from traumatic memory loss without offering any evidence of a physical or mental exam, let alone any expert to suggest that there is such a trauma that enables you to have a better memory two years after an event than you do 20 hours after it. I think in many respects Justice Harding was charitable. Our brief lays out in painstaking detail that number of times that she was apparently coached to change her story, so…as I say I don’t think there are any winners in this. I feel sorry for this young lady to the extent that she was taken through the ringers in a process that was inevitable once she was coached to lie.
Her aunt demanded 7 million dollars from us, I mean, what was this about? What was this about? Why do they think it way okay to do this to a 20 year old college student? To Antonor and Loretta’ son – because he played football?

EK interrupts: Do you think this is over now? Or do you think Jamies is still going to have to continue on through this process, either through an appeal at Florida State or a civil suit?

DC: EK, I’m going to tell you something – I’m done guessing. I’m done predicting. Because of your background as a lawyer you know, at the water cooler you can flip coins and take guesses, but when you put on your lawyering hat your job is to confront the problem that you’re presented with. So I’m just going to deal with things as they arrive, but I’ll tell you this: These two lawyers that arrived after we rejected the 7 million dollar, uh, demand… they’re not lawyers they’re investors. They’re (unintelligible), they invested in this case, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they tricked themselves into thinking that the return on their investment comes with the filing of a civil complaint. I’ll tell you, with the filing of a civil complaint comes a counter claim against this young lady, unfortunately. Not out of anger, but out of necessity, comes a new complaint against these lawyers because they made statements that are not protected by the litigation privilege in viciously attacking a 20 year old college student and we’re going to go to their pockets to get damages for that.

EK: Are you saying if she sues you, you will counterclaim against her and her attorneys, or are you going to do that anyway?

DC: No, we have no intention of doing it anyway, but of course, and you can explain to your listeners when our call is done, there’s not a chance we’re going into a courtroom without counter-claims. But separate and apart, what I’m telling you is that if she sues us, we will start a new lawsuit against Mr. Clune and Ms. Carroll.

EK: One thing I saw in USA Today sports was a statement from opposing council that says, “Three football players, including Jameis Winston, all refused to testify and answer questions and somehow Jameis Winston still wins. The order doesn’t even follow the student code and ignores the bulk of evidence.” Is that just a lie, did Jameis refuse to testify and answer questions?

DC: This is why the time has come for the media to reject this vulture. To reject this fraud. I could release the transcript today and prove that he’s lying. I could prove today that he’s lying if I release the transcript. And he has lied throughout this process, primarily to the “insider” Schlabauch, at ESPN, who covered this story as if he was a personal PR flak for John Clune. And that lie got primary traction though Schlabauch and it is a lie. A number of other things – Clune’s the one who said that we made the settlement demand and he hadn’t even been hired yet. They have hidden Patricia Carroll. This is a text book case for the following: For real journalists, across this nation, to revisit how they cover sexual assault cases. I applaud, agree with, and demand that you continue to not mention the name of an alleged sexual assault victim. You should not and must not, but you also must determine when a woman loses that protection. Is it after a local police department refuses to file chargers? Is it after a state attorney’s office refuses to file charges? Is it after the woman herself declines for two year to bring an administrative proceeding against the accused? Once you decide to cover a sexual assault case and provide this protection, the journalists are deciding to cover half the story. Would not, did not, and acted like they could not mention anything that was exculpatory, yet, Jameis Winston was entitled to the exact same confidentiality protections as she was. So in all the stories that criticized him, guess whose name was prominent? Jameis Winston. It’s indefensible. This guy – so the journalists have gotten to the point where right doesn’t matter, just being able to cite a source. This guy exploited the media, and the media essentially became his accomplice in publishing outright lies to put pressure on us. He didn’t expect us to appear. The reason he clamored for this proceeding because he thought there wasn’t a chance that we were coming, and we told him outright, “We’re coming as long as it’s fair.” We showed up, we had problems with the fairness – they asked to file a brief, and were granted the right to file a brief, in and ex parte communication with Florida State that was concealed from us for 17 days, and the public doesn’t know about that because they refused to write anything that seems to be pro-accused. It’s indefensible. Then, you have to talk about the accused right to due process, you have to talk about the institution’s conflict of interest when the accuser threatens them with a lawsuit. This case is a textbook of all the things that can go wrong, yet Jameis Winston stood up to it all, played football on Saturdays, and talked to me on Sundays. This young man and his family are remarkable. It’s unbelievable to me that a 20 year old stood up to this kind of pressure and performed the way that he did. This is the worst attack on an athlete that we have ever seen in the history of amateur sports.

EK: All right, I understand you’re an advocate for your client…What is the biggest misconception that I would have if I were just watching the media coverage?

DC: You tell me. I can’t prioritize them, man. I can’t give you a list that says there’s the single greatest one. There is a list of about – if we get the authority, or if we’re challenged, we’ll release our brief and we’ll invite the public to read it and they will see. Do you know that this young lady, after claiming that this man assaulted her, sat there and watched the Clemson game his first year as a starter? And tweeted about it? Tweeted about it? About his successful play against Clemson? I mean, nobody knows about that because the media doesn’t cover the other side of the story.

EK: Is there anything that you would like to get out there on your client that you didn’t get a chance to say?

DC: It’s not about my client. It’s about public, the media relationship with the men who play sports. This is the first case where, generally you treat men and women who play professional sports as a different class of Americans because they play for money. I don’t agree with it, but it’s a fact. This is the first case in our history where we have taken that perspective and moved it into the amateur ranks. Now it’s time for a conversation. Now it’s time to protect amateur athletes, student athletes, from the kind of vicious attack that we confronted from these attorneys. There must be something done. There needs to be a public conversation about it from the media, from the public, from the institutions, we can’t allow this to ever happen again. This was vicious and unacceptable.  

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. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

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 was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis 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 Too.