Report: Winston’s accuser sought $7 million for silence
Tuesday brought word, by way of the Florida State quarterback’s advisor, that Jameis Winston would be cooperating with the university’s Title IX investigation into allegations that he raped a fellow FSU student in December of 2012.
A day later, another in a long line of explosive allegations in the long-running case has been levied.
In a letter to FSU officials confirming his client would be cooperating with the probe, and reportedly obtained by TMZ.com, advisor David Cornwell claimed that the alleged victim’s lawyer “demanded $7 [million] to settle her client’s claims against FSU and Winston.” Per the alleged Cornwell letter, attorney Patricia Carroll stated that “if we settle, you will never hear from my client or me again -- in the press or anywhere.”
“Cornwell says he rejected her offer and 4 days later she went to the media,” the gossip website wrote.
As noted by Warchant.com, it’s not clear when the alleged demand was made. In February of this year, there were reports that “attorneys John Clune and Baine Kerr will work with Patricia Carroll ‘to evaluate the conduct of a number of individuals and entities in this matter and assess their civil and criminal liability.’” In April, an attorney for the alleged victim very publicly accused FSU of halting the Title IX investigation because Winston refused to cooperate; that attorney, though, was Kerr.
In January, however, Carroll said the following during an interview with ABC News.
“I want heads to roll,” the attorney said eight months ago. “Absolutely you’re going to see a civil suit. You can not have law enforcement that is not held accountable.
“The family is proceeding, with civil action against the TPD and Jameis Winston. And possibly the university.”
[RELATED: Latest news, analysis on James Winston]
Whether that’s around the time when the alleged extortion demand was made is unknown.
The website also pointed out another aspect of the case that was allegedly highlighted in Cornwell’s letter to the university.
In early December of last year, following a three-week investigation, the Florida State’s Attorney office announced that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the sexual encounter between Winston and the alleged victim was not consensual, and that no charges would be filed against the player. The state’s attorney in charge of that investigation, William Meggs, was highly critical of the Tallahassee Police Department’s investigation into the alleged rape in a New York Times report earlier this week, a report in which the university subsequently expressed its disappointment. The Tallahassee PD subsequently revised its policies when it came to handling sexual assault complaints in the wake of intense criticism it received.
In April it was reported that the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has launched its own investigation into FSU’s handling of the case.
“Mr. Winston will cooperate with the Investigation. He looks forward to clearing his name. But Mr. Winston will not walk into a honey trap. The Investigation must be a legitimate investigation,” Cornwell allegedly stated in the letter.
UPDATED 9:36 a.m. ET: PFT‘s Mike Florio has obtained a copy of the letter mentioned originally by TMZ.com. In Florio’s post, he explains that, while Cornwell labels the $7 million demand as “extortion,” it’s simply business as usual in the civil process.
... it’s common for potential plaintiffs in civil lawsuits to demand cash in exchange for a waiver of potential legal claims and silence. Typically, the first number requested is ridiculously high. The defendant often responds with a number that is ridiculously low, and the two sides chip away at the divide until a deal is either reached, or not.
With no settlement reached, Winston’s accuser continues to push the case against him, with a civil lawsuit apparently inevitable.