Nov 7, 2014 2:29 PM

Lawyer: Winston requests delay in FSU hearing

The Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has requested a delay in the student code of conduct hearing scheduled for the week of Nov. 17, an attorney said Friday.

John Clune, a lawyer for the woman who says Winston sexually assaulted her, confirmed the request was made to the university but did not know how long of a delay Winston is seeking. He said Florida State has not ruled on the Winston's request.

Winston is facing a hearing to determine whether he violated four sections of the code of conduct two for sexual misconduct and two for endangerment. The former female student said he assaulted her in December 2012.

Though the time frame has been set, both sides can request postponements of the scheduled date for reasons that would have to be individually reviewed.

"I think everybody expected Winston to try to delay," Clune said. "It's not at all surprising.

"We hope they go forward as scheduled. It's been 23 months since this happened."

Winston family adviser David Cornwell made the formal request on Winston's behalf in a letter sent to the university. He said in a statement Friday evening that Winston wants to "confront these false allegations."

"But he expects and is entitled to do so on an even playing field," Cornwell said. "We will end this baseless escapade by using the testimony of witnesses and other evidence contained in the approximately 1,000 documents and eight discs that were provided to Mr. Winston only one week ago.

"The University also has promised to provide additional evidence, including cellphone records."

The Tampa Bay Times first reported Winston's request that the hearing be delayed.

Both sides received a compilation of all the documents on the case and Cornwell commented Tuesday on Twitter that, "FSU gives (the woman) 20 months to file a complaint and Jameis 13 days to learn 1,000 documents."

The Associated Press does not identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse.

"Ninety to 95 percent of the material is stuff that's been available to everybody for a year now," Clune said. "I can't see how either side would need additional time to prepare for the hearing given what's in that packet and how much of it is completely public information."

Cornwell's statement ended with a response to the woman's lawyers.

"Opposing counsel say they want the hearing," Cornwell said. "They just don't want Mr. Winston to have the time to prepare for it. "

Winston could face sanctions that range from a written or verbal reprimand, to probation that could include being removed from the football team, to expulsion from the university if he found in violation of the student code of conduct.

Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding will preside over the hearing after both sides were required to strike one of three former justices selected by the university.

Rules specify a formal decision letter must be sent to Winston within 10 class days after the hearing ends. That time limit could be extended "if additional consideration of evidence and deliberation is required," FSU spokeswoman Browning Brooks previously explained to the AP in an email.

Winston is expected to play Saturday when the second-ranked Seminoles host Virginia. Florida State plays at Miami on Nov. 15 and against Boston College on Nov. 22.


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