The big question here is – can he be held liable and what legal ramifications should he face, if any?
The tweet by attorney David Cornwell reads: “FSU gives [the accuser] 20 months to file a complaint and Jameis 13 days to learn 1000 documents. #dueprocess??” It certainly raised some eyebrows and questions as to why an attorney would do such a thing.
Winston’s conduct hearing date has been set for the week of November 17. The university conduct hearings are completely independent from the criminal justice system and have a lower burden of proof. Attorney Cornwell has stated that the FSU conduct hearing process fails to protect the quarterback’s rights.
Noting insufficient evidence, the state’s attorney chose not to file charges against Winston last December. Cornwell may argue that the accuser is not a victim since no charges were ever filed against Winston.
A Florida law called the Crime Victims Protection Act allows sexual assault victims to sue anyone who reveals their identity before the case goes to court. To succeed with a lawsuit, the victim must be able to prove that his/her name was disclosed intentionally with intent to do harm to the primary case.
John Clune, an attorney for the accuser says that Winston has not been treated unfairly, “Both parties got the same materials at the exact same time.” He says a complaint was never filed because there was not a process to do so. “If Mr. Winston has concerns about why the process took so long, a delay that kept Mr. Winston playing football, he can take that complaint up with Florida State,” Clune said.
There are many ways that Mr. Cornwell can argue that his revelation of the accuser’s name is fair play. His tweet may have been distasteful and inappropriate, but will he be punished; should he be?