The Miranda warnings — the admonition that anything you say can and will be used against you — doesn’t apply only within the confines of statements made to the police. Under the rules of evidence in most American jurisdictions, anything that a party to litigation has said out of court can be used in court, regardless of the rule against hearsay.
And so it’s no surprise that the lawyers representing Erica Kinsman want to find out what Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston said to the NFL and/or the team last year, in advance of his selection as the first overall pick in the draft. According to Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times, Kinsman’s lawyers have issued subpoenas aimed at obtaining all relevant records generated by the league and the Buccaneers.
The Bucs claimed last year that they conducted a thorough investigation of Winston, who is accused of sexually assaulting Kinsman in December 2012. Also, Winston voluntarily went to New York to meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell in advance of being picked.
While it’s highly unlikely that Winston admitted wrongdoing to the league or the team, Kinsman’s lawyers will compare anything he said in that setting to anything he has said in any other setting, in the hopes of showing that he has told inconsistent stories. If Winston’s statements conflict in any significant way, Kinsman’s lawyers would use those contradictions to suggest that Winston isn’t telling the truth about what happened — and that Kinsman is.
Credibility always is important in court. Credibility becomes critical where, as in this case, two different people will sharing with the jury two dramatically different versions of the truth. If one has consistently told the same story and the other is all over the place, that becomes relevant to figuring out who should be believed.