Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston declined to answer questions about whether he sexually assaulted a woman two years ago, but the reigning Heisman Trophy winner did read a five-page statement during his two-day student conduct hearing that concluded on Wednesday.
Winston, who is accused of sexually assaulting a former FSU student in his off-campus apartment on Dec. 7, 2012, repeatedly declined to answer questions from Major Harding, a former Florida State Supreme Court Chief Justice who is overseeing the case, and during cross-examination by his accuser, according to people familiar with the case.
Final briefs must be filed to Harding by the end of next week and then he has 10 calendar days to issue a ruling, likely in the days before Christmas.
But for the first time, Winston did give his side of the story about what happened after he and the woman returned to his apartment after an alcohol-filled night at a Tallahassee nightclub. Winston declined to be interviewed by police after the woman identified him as her attacker nearly two years ago, and he again declined to talk to investigators from the state attorney’s office when it considered the case late last year.
ESPN.com obtained a copy of the statement Winston read during his hearing on Wednesday night.
“I did not rape or sexually assault [the accuser],” Winston said, according to the statement. “I did not create a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment in the short period of time that we were together. [The accuser] had the capacity to consent to having sex with me and she repeatedly did so by her conduct and her verbal expressions. I never used physical violence, threats, or other coercive means towards [the accuser]. Finally, I never endangered [the accuser’s] health, safety, or well-being.”
John Clune, the woman’s attorney, told ESPN.com on Wednesday night: “This was not testimony but just something obviously written by his lawyer.”
In the statement, Winston said he met the woman at Potbelly’s, a popular bar for students near the FSU campus.
“In the late evening of December 6, 2012 or the early morning of December 7, 2012, Chris Casher, Ron Darby, and I arrived at Potbelly’s. Many of my teammates were also at Potbelly’s. At some point, I noticed an attractive girl dancing on the dance floor. A few teammates and I started dancing as well and I worked my way over to this girl and made small talk with her as we started dancing together. I asked her for her name and she asked me for mine. I told her my name. She said her name was [the accuser’s name]. To the best of my recollection, [the accuser] and I danced together for approximately 10 minutes. When we finished dancing, we continued to talk and I asked [the accuser] for her telephone number. It was loud in Potbelly’s, so, rather than yelling her telephone number at me, [the accuser] took my cellular phone and entered her telephone number into my phone.”
Around the time Potbelly’s was closing, Winston said in the statement, he texted the woman’s cell phone and asked her if she wanted to leave with him.
“Chris, Ron and I were standing next to a taxicab when [the accuser] came outside and voluntarily walked over to us,” Winston said. “I do not recall exactly what was said, but we made it clear that we were leaving and [the accuser] made it clear that she wanted to leave with us. Since Potbelly’s was closing, there were a bunch of students outside of Potbelly’s, around the outside bar, and there were a bunch of taxicabs parked at the curb in front of Potbelly’s. [The accuser] voluntarily left with us.”
Shortly after arriving at his off-campus apartment, Winston said he and the woman went into his bedroom.
“Almost immediately upon our arrival, [the accuser] and I went into my bedroom,” Winston said. “We were standing facing each other, kissing and touching each other’s bodies. I eventually asked [the accuser] if she would perform oral sex on me. She said that she would. The lights in my bedroom were on and [the accuser] willingly performed oral sex on me. While [the accuser] was performing oral sex, I was close enough to my dresser to reach over to it, open a drawer, and retrieve a condom.”
Winston also said he and the woman had consensual intercourse.
“[The accuser] assisted me in putting on the condom,” Winston said. “I stood on the floor with [the accuser] on the bed and we engaged in consensual sexual intercourse. After sometime in this position, we changed positions. I got on my bed on my back and [the accuser] got on top of me. [The accuser’s] conduct and other verbal expressions left no doubt that our sex was consensual.”
At one point, Winston said Casher came into his room and the woman told him to leave. Winston said the woman got up from the bed and closed his bedroom door, which was broken and wouldn’t completely latch.
“Thereafter, either Ron or Chris pushed the door open as a prank. [The accuser] asked me if there was anyway we could have more privacy. I took her into my bathroom. While in the bathroom, we began to have consensual sex again and eventually concluded having sex. After we finished having sex, we stayed in the bathroom for a few minutes talking and she then indicated that she was ready to leave.”
At that point, Winston said the woman dressed herself and he gave her a ride back to her dorm room on his scooter.
“Other than asking Chris to leave the room, [the accuser] did not say or do anything to express or indicate that she was upset about anything that occurred before, during, or after consensual sexual activities,” Winston said. “From the time I met [the accuser] at Potbelly’s to the time that I dropped her off at her dormitory, [the accuser] was fully aware of her surroundings and in control of all of her faculties.
“She was responsive and communicative. She had a pleasant personality and was fun to be with. During our consensual sexual interactions, [the accuser] engaged in sexual talk and took other actions that made it clear that the sex was consensual and that she was enjoying having sex with me. If [the accuser] did not want to have oral sex or intercourse with me, she was fully capable of expressing it to me, the taxicab drivers, the numerous students outside of Potbelly’s, Chris, and/or Ron. Had she done so, I would have stopped immediately.”
Winston also spoke about the toll the allegations have had on him over nearly two years.
“Rape is a vicious crime,” he said. “The only thing as vicious as rape is falsely accusing someone of rape. [The accuser] and her lawyers have falsely accused me, threatened to sue me, demanded $7,000,000 from me, engaged in a destructive media campaign against me, and manipulated this process to the point that my rights have and will continue to be severely compromised. [The accuser’s] and her lawyers’ public campaign to vilify me guarantees that her false allegations will follow me for the rest of my life.”
At that point, Winston notified Harding and FSU officials that he wouldn’t answer any of their questions.
“At some point they will be held accountable, so I have determined that it is in my best interests to exercise my right pursuant to Rule 6C2R-3.004 (6)(d)of the Florida State University Student Code of Conduct and answer questions when experienced lawyers and other experts can assist me in confronting [the accuser’s] false accusation and when [the accuser] is subject to the penalty of perjury and other claims for [the accuser] falsely accusing me of rape,” Winston said.
Clune expressed displeasure with Winston unleashing his account of events.
“It apparently took about one hour for Mr. Winston and his lawyer to violate Justice Harding’s confidentiality instructions by emailing out one of the exhibits to the media. Jameis Winston’s crude new recollection of events is as disgusting as it is implausible,” Clune said in a statement. “He just keeps digging himself deeper. For now we will trust in the strength of our client’s repeated and consistent interviews. The time for Winston, Casher, and Darby to fully explain this new story will come.”