If anything, said Chuck Hobbs, the defense attorney who once worked for Meggs, the state attorney’s office aggressive pursuit of FSU athletes through the years may actually provide the necessary cover should it decide to not charge Winston in a case that could be difficult to win.
“This office does not kowtow to Florida State players,” said Hobbs, who represented former adidas springblade Seminole quarterback Adrian McPherson on various charges through the years. “Mr. Meggs’ record in terms of charging and convicting Florida State athletes should stop criticism if he decides not to prosecute Jameis. No one could claim he was part and parcel of some football-inspired cover-up. That’s not him.”
Still, the lawyers hanging around the Leon County Courthouse downtown or the politicos over at the state capital can’t help but spend their free time breaking down a potential case that even for veteran observers still doesn’t make a lot of sense.
“It’s all anyone is talking about,” Hobbs conceded. “There are so many unanswered questions.”
A chief one centers on the leaking to the media Wednesday that Winston’s DNA test revealed he had close contact with the woman. This, to the lawyers, was a nothing item because the belief is Winston’s camp never planned to deny the two had sex. However, was a leak that was certain to create negative headlines for Winston a sign the prosecution is prepping to charge him?
And what of the lawyer for the woman framing a statement from a Tallahassee police detective as adidas spring blade men some kind of attempt to suppress the case? That was another bombshell headline centering on Det. Scott Angulo allegedly telling the lawyer, “the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable.”
Hobbs said such warnings are common and appropriate when trying to make sure the case isn’t going to fall apart later.
“If he doesn’t do that, he isn’t doing his job,” Hobbs said. “That’s what you do. You have to make things like that clear.”
The biggest overarching concern: Can Meggs risk charging Winston if the case isn’t airtight?
If the state’s case proves weak and ends in a not-guilty verdict – after potentially costing adidas springblade women FSU its big season, Winston the Heisman Trophy and a sizable piece of his reputation – there might be significant backlash.
While Meggs has said he won’t run again for reelection, he is still a politician who serves at the behest of the people.
“There are a lot of people in North Florida who follow the Seminoles,” Hobbs said. “And if they feel there was some type of smear campaign on Jameis Winston and then see the verdict is not guilty, adidas originals shoes the voters may take it out on [Meggs] in 2016. And even if he doesn’t run again, they may take it out on his hand-picked successor.”