Florida State University has finally gotten around to conducting its Title IX-mandated investigation of the Jameis Winston sexual assault case, which means it's time for attorneys from both sides to start taking shots at each other.
David Cornwell, the attorney representing Winston, got things started in a letter he sent to Florida State, a copy of which we have obtained. The ostensible purpose of the letter was to let the university know that Winston will cooperate with the investigation, but it also included this:
In February 2014, seven weeks after her press conference, [the accuser's former attorney, Patricia Carroll], met with the undersigned. Ms. Carroll demanded $7,000,000 to settle [the accuser's] potential claims against FSU, the TPD, and Mr. Winston. Ms. Carroll stated, "If we settle, you will never hear from my client or me again – in the press or anywhere." Ms. Carroll stated that Mr. Winston should pay FSU's and the TPD's alleged portion of liability to avoid the public scrutiny of a trial at the time he would be trying to begin his NFL career. Ms. Carroll said that if Mr. Winston rejected the settlement demand, she intended to bring in high profile "Colorado attorneys," whom she did not identify.
The settlement demand was immediately rejected. Ms. Carroll was advised that Mr. Winston would not assume FSU's and the TPD's alleged liability, he would vigorously defend any claims against him, and he would assert his own claims against [the accuser] and, possibly, FSU and law enforcement for conducting their investigations in a manner that left room to speculate that he had raped [the accuser].
That's not exactly an allegation of attempted extortion, but it's pretty damn close, and it was enough to get the accuser's current attorneys, John Clune and Blaine Kerr, riled up. They released a statement to the press, which had this to say about Cornwell's letter:
Said Clune and Kerr in a statement: "The facts that Mr. Cornwell chose not to disclose are that it was he himself who reached out to our client's former counsel Patricia Carroll to discuss paying off our client. Patricia Carroll didn't' even know who David Cornwell was until he called. Mr. Cornwell then himself flew down from Atlanta to negotiate with Ms. Carroll.
"Settlement discussions were immediately unproductive as Cornwell was crude and insulting going so far as to say 'your client likes to (expletive) football players,'" they added. "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."
And then we got this: