Erica Kinsman, the woman who accused former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of a 2012 sexual assault, filed a lawsuit against the Heisman Trophy winner April 16.
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Winston's Lawsuit Moved to Federal Court
Thursday, May 7
Pro Football Talk, via Bleacher Report's Jason Cole, reported that Winston's lawsuit has officially been moved to federal court in an effort to get a more favorable venue.
On April 27, The Associated Press reported that "a federal judge is moving a high-profile lawsuit against Florida State University from an Orlando federal court to one in Tallahassee."
The report provided additional details on the decision:
Erica Kinsman filed a lawsuit against FSU earlier this year. The former FSU student says the university failed to respond to her allegations that she was sexually assaulted by ex-Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston.
FSU has denied the allegations, but attorneys for the school also argued that the lawsuit should be transferred to the Northern District of Florida.
Kinsman argued she could not get a fair trial in Tallahassee. She also said she was fearful of her safety.
But Senior U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell in a Monday order said his court has no jurisdiction over FSU.
Bucs Weren't Surprised By Civil Suit
Monday, April 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht commented on the civil suit filed against Winston, saying the team "wasn't surprised" at the news, via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Licht said, "We're very confident about the amount of work we've done."
Winston Sued Over Sexual Assault Allegations
Friday, April 17
Kinsman's attorney, John Clune, released a statement to Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times:
Today, a very brave young woman filed her lawsuit against Jameis Winston for the sexual battery that she reported to police in December 2012. Over the past two years, this survivor of sexual violence has had to endure a delinquent police investigation, a hostile FSU athletic department, and Mr. Winston's bullying lawyer. But the more these forces sought to silence her, the more determined she has become to step forward and hold Jameis Winston accountable for his actions. With the support of her family, she is prepared for this fight and for the counterclaims and the smear campaigns that will surely follow.
Kinsman first accused Winston, then a freshman, of raping her after the two met at a bar on Dec. 7, 2012. The case remained open for nearly a year before being formally investigated by the Tallahassee Police Department, which did not find enough evidence to file criminal charges.
Winston's lawyer, David Cornwell, responded to the new suit, according to Baker:
This stunt was expected. Ms. Kinsman’s false accusations have already been exposed and rejected six times. This time will be no different. Mr. Winston welcomes the opportunity to clear his name with the truth.
Mr. Winston is looking forward to the upcoming draft. He will not permit this ploy to distract him as he begins the journey of fulfilling his lifelong dream of being a championship quarterback in the National Football League.
A Title IX investigation into the incident conducted by Florida State last year also did not find that Winston broke any university code.
"In sum, the preponderance of the evidence has not shown that you are responsible for any of the charge violations of the Code," former Florida Supreme Court justice Major Harding, presiding over the case, wrote, per USA Today's Rachel Axon. "Namely, I find that the evidence before me is insufficient to satisfy the burden of proof."
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk provided a portion of the complaint that mentions a potential second accuser: "'On October 25, 2013, Plaintiff’s victim advocate at FSU informed her that a second woman had come forward and reported being sexually assaulted by Winston,' the complaint alleges at paragraph 13."
Kinsman, who testified on her own behalf during Winston's university case, has maintained her version of events. She has also become increasingly public with her fight, appearing in a documentary (The Hunting Ground) about her case and filing a lawsuit against Florida State.
“I kind of just want to know…why me?” Kinsman says in the film, per Marlow Stern of The Daily Beast. “It doesn’t really make sense.”
The university has since filed a motion seeking to dismiss the case, which has not yet been heard. Florida State president John Thrasher also criticized The Hunting Ground, stating producers did not offer ample time to respond to claims made in the documentary.
Winston has maintained his innocence throughout the incident, claiming his sexual encounter with Kinsman was consensual.
He told Kurt Streeter of ESPN.com
So many people try to dehumanize me. They say, 'Off-field issues.' They say, 'The sexual allegation stuff.' People view me as a convict, and I didn't even do nothing. People say, 'How does he play like this and all this stuff going on?' Like by me playing well during that adversity, that made people think about me worse, thinking I'm a sociopath.
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