Christopher Smith

Winston Likely To Face Civil Suit Related To Rape Accusation

Created on Feb. 16, 2014 12:41 PM EST

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston did not face criminal charges stemming from a rape accusation, an announcement that came just in time to assure he'd coast to a Heisman Trophy.

State attorney Willie Meggs announced there was not enough evidence to charge Winston with a crime.

Winston and the Seminoles, with the issue behind them, went on to win a national championship, and Winston already has started his second baseball season for FSU.

But he may soon face a civil suit related to the accusations. His accuser has retained high-profile Colorado attorneys John Clune and Baine Kerr, known for extensive work in Title IX and sexual assault cases, Fox Sports reported Friday.

Clune intends "to evaluate the conduct of a number of individuals and entities in this matter and assess their civil and criminal liability," he told Fox Sports.

While there's no way of knowing if or when the accuser will file against Winston in civil court, it seems possible that the quarterback will have to face round two of questions and interest, particularly if there's an ongoing legal case this fall. He seemed to handle the distractions just fine in 2013, and it seems highly unlikely that FSU will suspend Winston barring a major and unforeseen revelation.

The quarterback has said he intends to return to FSU for two more seasons, though he'll be eligible for the NFL draft after this year. Whether or not he enters the 2015 draft pool with pending litigation, it will be curious to see how he handles the case and whether an out-of-court settlement could be in order.

Winston has maintained his innocence steadfastly, claiming he had consensual sex with the accuser.

“After meeting with them,” the accuser's lawyer Patricia Carroll said in the FOX Sports report, “I am confident that anyone who has liability in this case will be held accountable and justice will be served for my client at the end of the day.”

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