Attorneys for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winton and the woman who accused him of sexual assault last year went on the offensive Wednesday.
According to a TMZ.com report, David Cornwell, Winston’s Atlanta-based attorney, sent FSU a letter Tuesday claiming that the accuser’s former attorney, Patricia Carroll, asked Winston for a $7million settlement.
The letter reportedly claims that Carroll told Cornwell, “If we settle, you will never hear from me or my client again — in the press or anywhere.”
John Clune, the Title IX attorney currently representing the woman, responded with a prepared statement Wednesday afternoon.
Clune’s statement asserts that the initial offer for a financial settlement came from Winston’s camp and that talks fell apart as a result of Cornwell’s behavior.
“Settlement discussions were immediately unproductive as Cornwell was crude and insulting, going so far as to say ‘Your client likes to [expletive] football players,’” Clune’s statement reads.
“When told that the client’s main concern was not money but that Winston be held accountable for his actions, Cornwell threatened to sue our client and her parents for civil racketeering in an effort to intimidate them into staying quiet.”
Cornwell then took to Twitter and responded with a series of tweets directed at Clune.
“Tries to extort a 20-year old college student for $7million … and I’m unprofessional. [Hashtag] priceless,” Cornwell wrote.
He later said that he will “provide FSU with evidence exposing latest [sic] their latest lie.”
State attorney Willie Meggs investigated the sexual-assault allegation last November, but declined to press charges.
FSU, though, is currently conducting an investigation into whether Winston violated its code of conduct. If found guilty of any violations, Winston could face a punishment that ranges from reprimand to expulsion.
Cornwell, who counts Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun among his former clients, reportedly told FSU that Winston intends to cooperate with the investigation.
“He looks forward to clearing his name,” the letter said. “But Mr. Winston will not walk into a honey trap. The Investigation must be a legitimate investigation.”