General's Defense To Try For Plea Deal In Sex Case

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Attorneys for an Army general charged with sexual assault will try renegotiate a plea deal with a new set of military officials.

The judge in Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair's case sent the jury of generals back to their duty stations on Tuesday morning, indicating that the trial is not likely to resume soon.

Judge Col. James Pohl made the offer for another try at a plea deal Monday after finding evidence that the case may have been improperly influenced by political concerns.

The twist came with the Pentagon under heavy pressure from Congress and beyond to combat rape and other sex crimes in the military.

Sinclair, 51, is accused of twice forcing a female captain to perform oral sex. He has admitted to an affair but denied assaulting the woman.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Previous Story

A military judge has declined to dismiss sexual assault charges against an Army general.

Judge Col. James Pohl on Monday offered the defense team to let a different commanding general and prosecutors consider a plea deal that was previously rejected. The defense has until Tuesday morning to decide between that option or allow the trial to proceed.

Before the trial, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair had offered to plead guilty to some of the lesser charges in exchange for the Army dropping the sexual assault charges. The plea deal was ultimately rejected.

On Monday, Pohl reviewed newly disclosed emails and said he found evidence that the decision to reject the plea deal was influenced by political considerations.

Under military code of justice, the decision was supposed to be decided solely based on evidence in the case - and not its broader political implications.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Previous Story

A military judge says there is evidence of improper influence in the prosecution of an Army general on sexual assault charges.

Military judge Col. James Pohl issued a finding Monday that there is the appearance of such influence after reviewing emails between a top Pentagon lawyer and the prosecutors.

He then began discussing with lawyers whether to dismiss charges against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair or proceed with the case.

Defense lawyers presented the new evidence Monday.

At issue are emails from December between the prosecution team at Fort Bragg and a top Pentagon lawyer regarding a potential plea deal that was ultimately rejected. It is unlawful in the military justice system for senior commanders outside the chain of command to interfere in prosecutorial decisions.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Previous Story

The judge in the case against an Army general believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to be tried on sex assault charges is considering new evidence that a top lawyer at the Pentagon may have unlawfully interfered in a decision on whether to accept a plea agreement that was ultimately rejected.

Attorneys for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair presented the evidence, and Judge Col. James Pohl dismissed the jury for the day Monday morning. Pohl then retired to his chambers, where he will weigh the email chain between the prosecution team at Fort Bragg and a top Pentagon lawyer.

It is unlawful in the military justice system for senior commanders to interfere in prosecutorial decisions.

The case comes as the Pentagon is under increased scrutiny over revelations of rampant rape and sexual misconduct within the ranks.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


Previous story:

Defense lawyers for an Army general facing sexual assault charges say they plan to press his primary accuser on inconsistencies in her story.

Attorneys for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair will get their chance Monday to cross-examine the female captain at the center of the closely-watched case.

The woman testified Friday that toward the end of their three year affair Sinclair twice ended arguments by unbuttoning his pants and forcing her head into his lap as she cried.

The defense says they'll show the woman is lying by presenting a trove of emails and text messages she exchanged with the general, many of them sexually explicit.

Sinclair is believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military officer ever tried for sexual assault. He faces life in prison if found guilty.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


PREVIOUS STORY:

The Army captain who has accused Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair of sexually assaulting her during their three-year relationship was an ambitious soldier with plans to make the military her career, much like the boss she loved and admired.

Stirred by the 9/11 attacks to leave college and join the Army, she tried to carve out a reputation as a soldier who could be counted on in the toughest of situations.

Her credibility is central to the case. Is she a woman whose affair with a charismatic and approachable superior ended with him forcing her to perform oral sex? Or is she, as Sinclair and his lawyers have portrayed, a jilted lover who fabricated allegations of sexual assault?

She will return to the witness stand for cross examination Monday.


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