Jameis Winston's friend offers dramatic new details in Uber suspension case
This friend was in the car with Jameis Winston on the night of his alleged incident
After Jameis Winston was originally accused of groping an Uber driver back in November, Winston's initial defense was that the driver's story .
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, the driver, "Kate," alleged that Winston grabbed her crotch while the two were waiting in the drive-thru of a Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 13, 2016. According to Kate's story, Winston was the only passenger in the car at the time of the alleged incident. As Kate tells it, a small group of Winston's friends placed the quarterback in the passenger seat of her car around 2 a.m.
Although we've heard from both Darby and Winston, one person who had yet to tell his story was the mysterious third passenger, but that changed on Friday, when the passenger's lawyer, Mark Scruggs, spoke with ESPN's Outside the Lines.
The third passenger, former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks, offered some damning details to the case. According to Banks, at least part of the driver's story is accurate, because Winston was definitely alone in the car with her in the early morning hours of March 13. Through his attorney, Banks said that Winston had become "unruly" after getting drunk at a club in Scottsdale. At that point, several friends decided to call an Uber for Winston, and he left the premises by himself in the car.
"What happened after that, they cannot say," Scruggs said.
According to Kate, what happened after that is that Winston "reached over" and "grabbed" her crotch while the two were waiting for food at a drive-thru. Kate also added that Winston kept his hand in place for three to five seconds and didn't remove it until she asked him, "What's up with that?"
Although Banks was never interviewed by the NFL as part of its investigation, the league apparently came to a similar conclusion. According to NFL.com, the league investigation found that the Uber ride consisted of multiple legs and that Darby and Banks weren't in the car for all of them.
Banks actually had an explanation for that. According to him, the three men -- Winston, Darby and Banks -- had all taken an Uber earlier in the night with a different female driver.
"Brandon was never in the car with this victim [Kate]," Scruggs told Outside the Lines. "They were two different events, two different Uber drivers."
Basically, the group went out partying in Scottsdale and the three men were together for Uber ride one. However, according to Banks, Winston was the only person in the car for Uber ride two, which took place much later in the night when Winston was "unruly" and intoxicated.
There's still a lot of questions to answer and there's a good chance the NFL will answer those when they release the findings of the league investigation, which has gone on for more than seven months. The new details from Banks may help shed some light on why Winston was hit with a multi-game suspension.
The fact that Banks didn't speak to the NFL may have been because the NFL didn't know he was the third passenger. The former Vanderbilt football player is currently serving 15 years in prison. In June 2017, Banks was convicted of aggravated rape and sexual battery for a crime that took place back in June 2013.
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