Originally Posted by Yahoo
Travis Johnson says he knows exactly who Willie Meggs is. He certainly knows, perhaps better than just about anyone else, what Jameis Winston may be dealing with right now.
Ten years ago, Johnson was a Florida State defensive lineman charged with sexual battery by Meggs' office. He was accused of forcing himself on an FSU female shot putter, with whom he'd previously had a relationship. His family hired an attorney. He vehemently proclaimed his innocence. He said he took and passed three lie detector tests. He presented evidence and experts who said because of a recent surgery, he couldn't possibly have held anyone down.
"Meggs charged me anyway," Johnson told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday. "Just like I believe he's going to charge Jameis. He wants to prosecute Florida State players. He is obsessed with attention and wants big cases."
The State Attorney has repeatedly defended its decision to try the Johnson case, saying it was a case of he said/she said, and there was no ulterior motive in bringing it to trial.
After two days of evidence and testimony, however, Johnson won an acquittal from an all-female jury that needed just 30 minutes of deliberation.
"I talked to the jury," Johnson said. "They didn't even need that. They spent five minutes going to the bathroom, five minutes laughing about the evidence. The trial was a joke. Meggs knew all of that. He never should have charged me."
Johnson was cleared just before his senior year, where he returned to the field for the Seminoles and wound up the 16th pick overall in the 2005 NFL draft. He played six seasons in the league for Houston and San Diego and now looks on from afar convinced that he is witnessing deja vu – the potential railroading of a star Seminole.
"I was a star but not the level of Jameis Winston," Johnson said. "This is Willie Meggs' big chance."
Johnson, 31, is married and raising five children in Houston. He said while he obviously doesn't know exactly what happened in the Winston case, from what he does know via media reports and his connections to FSU football, he believes in the quarterback's innocence. He says just charging Winston would be devastating to the player.
Mostly he doesn't trust the State Attorney.
"Facts don't matter when you are dealing with a guy like Willie Meggs. Willie Meggs isn't out for the facts …
"At the end of the day, this is still the Jim Crow South," said Johnson, who originally hailed from Sherman Oaks, Calif. "You think, 'It's Florida.' Well, it's not Florida. It's South Georgia. Tallahassee is South Georgia."
Johnson fears for Winston if he is charged. He says his own ordeal resulted in severe mental and emotional depression, and the hurt didn't go away with an acquittal. He had to relive it through taunts from opposing fans and concerned looks from fellow students who merely passed him the hallway outside a classroom. The humiliation continued when he had to discuss the situation with all 32 NFL teams during the draft process. And he knows that no matter what the jury said, some still believe he did it.
"Right after the verdict I turned to the State's Attorney table and told them, 'You're all pieces of [expletive],' " Johnson said. "They knew the facts of the case and they put me through it anyway. They tried to destroy me. And now it's the same thing.