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Prosecutor to 'get to the bottom' of sex assault case involving Florida State star

By Ray Sanchez. Dan Moriarty and Alina Machado, CNN
updated 10:04 PM EST, Fri November 15, 2013
 Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston's lawyer says he will cooperate with a sexual assault investigation.
Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston's lawyer says he will cooperate with a sexual assault investigation.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Florida prosecutor takes on case of December 2012 incident
  • FSU star Jameis Winston's lawyer says his client is cooperating
  • State Attorney Willie Meggs says the case could have been handled differently

(CNN) -- A Florida prosecutor said his office will "get to the bottom" of a sexual assault case investigation involving Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston.

A lawyer for the FSU star said his client will cooperate with authorities even though he believed the case had been closed for months.

In an interview Friday, State Attorney Willie Meggs said his office learned of the case on Wednesday.

"What we're going to try to do is to get to the bottom of it and try to do justice," he said.

Meggs, state attorney for Florida's 2nd Judicial Circuit, said he believed the case could have been handled differently, but he did not offer specifics.

The latest development in the case comes as No. 2 FSU plays its homecoming game against Syracuse on Saturday. Winston is a candidate for the Heisman Trophy, college football's top award.

The sexual assault complaint was filed in December.

Winston's lawyer, Tim Jansen, said the red-shirt freshman has not been questioned by police as part of the investigation. Jansen said police in Tallahassee told him in February the case had been closed.

"I informed my client, I informed the university, that the matter was resolved, and we all moved forward," Jansen said.

But Meggs said the case is not closed.

"There's people who needed to be located and talked to and, to the best of my knowledge, they haven't been," the prosecutor said.

Meggs said, "The most important thing here is, we do have a victim in the case. Victims have rights. We don't pick our victims, nor do we pick our suspects. They are who they are and I think our job is to do the right thing with the case."

Tallahassee Police have released a heavily redacted police report documenting a sexual assault allegation. Jansen would not comment on the document, but said his client's name "has been intermingled" with the investigation.

No one has been charged in the investigation.

Calls made Friday for comment from the Tallahassee Police Department were not immediately returned.

Winston's name does not appear in the redacted version of the complaint, dated December 7, and a suspect description includes a height ranging between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11, several inches shorter than the 6-foot-4 quarterback.

Meggs said, "If I were you all, I wouldn't put too much into a redacted police report."

Jansen said he had given investigators sworn statements from witnesses "that we believe are favorable to Mr. Winston," and those witnesses had been interviewed by police.

Meggs confirmed that his office received two affidavits from Jansen but had not yet interviewed the witnesses.

Georgia Cappleman, the Leon County chief assistant state's attorney, said police delivered the case to her office on Tuesday.

"I am not aware of it being closed nor did my office ask that it be reopened," Cappleman said. "I do not know the reason the case was not presented sooner. I cannot confirm any suspects or comment on the evidence, as it is a pending investigation."

Florida State said it could not comment on an open investigation, but said there was no change in Winston's status. "We look forward to a speedy resolution of the issue," a school statement added.

Jansen said the report had been leaked to reporters in the past week, timing he called "very suspect." FSU is a national title contender, and Heisman voting takes place in early December: "Any kind of negative can affect that," he said

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