Former U.S. Attorney: Winston news conference could go either wa - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Former U.S. Attorney: Winston news conference could go either way

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Jameis Winston (Source: WBRC video) Jameis Winston (Source: WBRC video)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones says the upcoming announcement from the prosecutor in the Jameis Winston sexual assault investigation could go either way.

During an interview on Good Day Alabama on Thursday morning, Jones stated that an announcement in such a high-profile investigation is not uncommon.

"I don't think it's too unusual in a high profile case like this with a lot of media interest across the country and under the circumstances to make an announcement one way or the other," said Jones.

Jones says speculation at this isn't helpful at this point in the investigation. He does say that it appears criminal charges may not be announced.

"It's just like trying to read a jury when a jury is out. I think if people look at this case objectively, they tend to say on the side of ‘this case is not going to go forward from a criminal standpoint,'" said Jones. "But you just don't know."

State Attorney Willie Meggs, the prosecutor in the investigation, has a track record as a dependable public servant.

"We've got a very experienced prosecutor. He's been in office for 7 terms. So, he's going to be looking at this case very strong, very hard," said Jones. "I commend him for going ahead and having a press conference now, making that decision now, and not just delaying and letting things take their course."

Jones adds that while there is a possibility Meggs could be affected by outside influence, he finds it very unlikely.

"He has been a longtime public servant and I think he was not happy this case came to him so late, because he was trying to play catch up," said Jones. "…I've got to give this guy a lot of credit, right now. He's been a dedicated public servant from everything that I can see and I believe he is going to make the call that he believes is the right call for his office."

Jones feels the case may have been mishandled with the lull in activity following the early part of the investigation.

"These cases are very difficult on victims. It's the most under reported crime, especially on college campuses," said Jones.

Jones says the prosecution won't move forward with charges if it comes down to a "he said/she said" situation. He says there has to be some measure of corroborating evidence, which could go either way. The fact that the victim came forward early would help the prosecution, but there may be witnesses that would say they had seen Winston and the accuser together that could help the defense. Looking the case as between a 19-year-old and an 18-year-old instead of it being a high-profile investigation is how Jones says he sees it.

"Anything can happen between two 18/19-year-old kids at a bar. That's the issue. That's the real problem," said Jones. "Every 18-year-old girl has the right to say ‘no.' Every woman has the right to say ‘no.' That's what the prosecutor is going to look at, to see whether he can corroborate her resistance and her saying ‘no.'"

The announcement is expected to be made a 1 p.m Central Time today.

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