Attorney: Jameis Winston will cooperate in FSU probe of 2012 sex allegation

Jameis Winston looks to make a pass during the first half against The Citadel in Tallahassee, Florida.

Story highlights

  • Title IX is a federal law that requires schools to investigate allegations of sexual assault
  • Florida State University currently has such an investigation into an alleged assault in 2012
  • A woman accused FSU's Jameis Winston; police said she declined to proceed with case
  • Winston's attorney says he will cooperate with FSU probe
The attorney for Jameis Winston says that despite serious legal concerns, his client will cooperate in Florida State University's Title IX investigation concerning an allegation that the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback sexually assaulted a woman in 2012.
In a letter that was dated Tuesday and obtained by CNN on Wednesday, attorney David Cornwell, who also serves as an adviser to the Winston family, says that Winston will participate in a requested interview with the university.
"Mr. Winston will cooperate with the Investigation," Cornwell writes in the conclusion of his letter to FSU General Counsel Carolyn Egan. "He looks forward to clearing his name. But, Mr. Winston will not walk into a honey trap."
Cornwell alleges in the letter that an attorney for the woman who accused Winston of rape demanded $7 million to settle claims against Winston, Florida State and Tallahassee police before the case became public.
Cornwell writes that Patricia Carroll, attorney for the alleged victim, met with him and "demanded $7,000,000 to settle (the alleged victim's) claim.
"Ms. Carroll stated, 'If we settle, you will never hear from my client or me again -- in the press or anywhere,'" Cornwell writes in his letter to FSU's Egan.
John Clune, another attorney who represents the accuser, said in an email to CNN that Cornwell had approached Carroll first about paying off the accuser.
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"Settlement discussions were immediately unproductive as Cornwell was crude and insulting going so far as to say 'your client likes to f!#% football players,'" Clune said in the email to CNN.
Cornwell declined to comment on Clune's statement. Carroll declined to comment, deferring to Clune's statement.
Title IX is a federal law that requires schools to investigate allegations of sexual assault. This investigation is mandatory under the law even if criminal charges were not filed, which they were not in the 2012 case after police said the alleged victim did not want to proceed.
Winston could be charged by his university for a code-of-conduct violation for sexual misconduct, depending upon the results of the school's investigation.
On September 5, Clune told CNN that Florida State had opened the Title IX investigation into the 2012 sexual assault case involving Winston. Clune said his client -- the alleged victim -- was interviewed by FSU officials in August, calling it a "very thorough interview" and he said that his client, then a Florida State student, "felt like she was heard by the university."
Florida State -- one of several universities under federal review for their handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints -- previously has not commented on the investigation, citing state and federal student privacy laws.
According to police documents, the accuser said Winston raped her in December 2012 after she had been drinking with friends at a bar in Tallahassee. She said an unknown man gave her a shot glass of liquid before they left the bar.
The accuser also said she did not remember much of what happened next but that she remembered being in a ground-floor apartment, where a man took off her clothes and had sex with her despite her objections.
The accuser reported the alleged assault to campus police that night. A month later, in January 2013, she accused Winston of the alleged rape.
Tallahassee interim Police Chief Tom Coe said last year that the woman "broke off contact" with investigators in February 2013 and didn't want to go forward with the case. The woman's family said a detective warned her attorney that Tallahassee is a "big football town" and that life could be miserable if she pursued the case.
Tim Jansen, another attorney for Winston, has said his client had consensual sex with the woman.
After he won the Heisman Trophy, Winston and the Seminoles went on to win the BCS National Championship against Auburn in January. Winston spent this spring playing for the Florida State baseball team.
Winston made headlines again in April when he was accused of shoplifting crab legs from a Publix supermarket in Tallahassee. Police said that Winston said he forgot to pay.
As part of a civil citation for alleged shoplifting -- an alternative to criminal prosecution for first-time, nonviolent offenses in Leon County -- Winston was not arrested but was ordered to serve at least 20 hours of community service, authorities said.
This past week, Florida State suspended Winston for its game against Clemson, which the Seminoles -- still ranked No. 1 in national polls -- escaped with a 23-17 win in overtime.
The suspension came after witnesses said that Winston made a sexually explicit remark near the school's student union.
Florida State initially announced Winston would be suspended for the first half of the game. However, Athletics Director Stan Wilcox increased the punishment late Friday after hearing eyewitness accounts that differed from Winston's initial version, a source close to the situation told CNN's Rachel Nichols.