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Jameis Winston Countersues Accuser

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 12, 2015 11:58 AM

Jameis Winston's attorneys have filed a countersuit against the woman who accused him of rape in December 2012. Erica Kinsman filed a civil lawsuit against Winston in April, accusing him of sexual battery, assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Winston's lawsuit asserts that Kinsman's accusations amount to defamation and a tortious interference with a prospective business advantage. Winston is claiming that Kinsman's accusations are not only false, but have damaged his reputation and earning potential.

Acrimonious Answers and Affirmative Defenses

Even if Winston has, for the most part, remained silent on the matter, his attorneys have been aggressive in their response to Kinsman's sexual assault claims. Winston's lawyers long ago said they would file a countersuit if Kinsman sued in civil court, and their reply contains harsh language.

The opening line of the lawsuit claims, "Jameis Winston did not rape Erica Kinsman." After pointing to several investigations and hearings into the matter which did not find enough evidence to find Winston responsible for sexual assault, the pleading says, "Ms. Kinsman is 0 for 6." (Emphasis in original.)

Along with claims that Kinsman's attorney sought $7 million to make the case to go away, the suit alleges:

However, Ms. Kinsman has been successful in one major area. She has mounted a false and vicious media campaign to vilify Mr. Winston with the objective of getting him to pay her to go away. Ms. Kinsman is motivated by the most insidious objectives -- greed. Ms. Kinsman abused administrative proceedings and obstructed criminal investigations to construct a false tale, upon which she intends to rely in this action against Mr. Winston.

Defamatory Language

Winston's main claim is defamation, meaning that someone made a false statement that was published and therefore caused some injury. While it would not be difficult to establish that the sexual assault allegations were made, were published in nearly every news outlet, and that they had a negative impact on Winston's reputation, proving they were false may be trickier.

To this end, Winston's lawsuit points out the many inconsistencies between Kinsman's varying accounts of incident as well as toxicology and medical examination reports. As noted above, the suit also points to other investigations of the incident, most recently a Florida State Code of Conduct hearing that did not find it more likely than not that Winston assaulted Kinsman. This preponderance of the evidence standard is the same that will be used in any upcoming civil trial.

After being selected as the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Winston may also have a hard time proving Kinsman's claims interfered with his business prospects. On the other hand, even if her allegations did not affect his draft status, they could have affected possible endorsement deals.

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