As is his client’s right, David Cornwell, on behalf of Jameis Winston, has stricken one of three former state judges proposed by Florida State to conduct a code of conduct hearing involving the star quarterback, the advisor/attorney told ESPN.com‘s Mark Schlabach.
Winston could be charged with up to four student code of conduct violations at the hearing — date still to be determined — in connection to the alleged sexual assault of an FSU student in December of 2012. Both Winston and the accuser have the right to strike one of the three judges — former Florida Supreme Court justices Major Harding, Joseph Hatchett and Charles T. Wells — from consideration. Should Winston and the accuser strike the same judge, the university would determine which one of the remaining two would hear the case.
Cornwell declined to reveal to Schlabach which judge he struck, a decision which came by today’s deadline after contacting FSU’s Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Reportedly, none of the three under consideration have ties to the university.
Winston, as long as he is still a student at the university, will be compelled to attend the hearing. He will not be required, however, to answer questions even as he is permitted to give an opening statement and cross-examine witnesses. Unless given explicit permission by whomever is overseeing the hearing, Cornwell will not be allowed to speak or argue on his client’s behalf.
Provided it doesn’t interrupt the hearing process, Winston can consult with Cornwell, who will presumably be the one “advisor” permitted at the hearing.
It’s those types of procedures and stipulations for the hearing that has Cornwell, while reiterating “we will be cooperative with the expectation of fairness,” advancing the process with some trepidation.
“I still have some concerns, but we’ll address each of them individually as we move forward,” Cornwell told Schlabach, before adding, “I’m not walking this kid into a firing line without the necessary weapons.”
Some, however, feel that Cornwell is simply dragging his and his client’s feet in an attempt to further delay the hearing, perhaps to the point where it wouldn’t occur until after the season is complete. At that point, Winston could bail on his remaining eligibility and enter the NFL draft, avoiding the hearing entirely.
One of those who thinks that may be the tack the accused is taking is an attorney for the accuser.
“It feels like a stall,” Baine Kerr said of Cornwell’s concerns. “We’re becoming increasingly skeptical of the sincerity of his promise to cooperate.”
Despite all of the tumult, including the burgeoning autograph imbroglio, Winston will be under center when Florida State takes takes the field against Notre Dame Saturday, head coach Jimbo Fisher again and not-so-unexpectedly confirmed during a radio interview Friday.