No Prison Time For Army General In Sex Case

An army general avoided jail time and was reprimanded and fined a total of $20,000 for inappropriate relationships with three subordinates in a closely watched court case.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair smiled and hugged his two lawyers in the courtroom Thursday morning after the judge's sentencing.

The final sentence could not exceed terms in a sealed agreement between defense lawyers and military attorneys. The agreement was unsealed Thursday and said Sinclair could have served no more than 18 months in jail.

Sinclair had been accused of sexual assault during his affair with one subordinate, but charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to several charges including adultery - a crime in the military.

His case comes as the military works to curb sexual misconduct and Congress considers military justice reforms aimed at helping assault victims.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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An Army general who admitted breaking military law during improper relationships with three subordinates should learn his punishment Thursday.

After both sides finished closing arguments, Judge Col. James Pohl adjourned the hearing until Thursday morning.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair faces a maximum of more than 20 years in prison and dismissal from the Army, but will likely wind up with a far less severe punishment.

The judge could dismiss Sinclair from the Army, which would likely wipe out his health care and retirement benefits. If the judge allows Sinclair to retire from the military instead, Sinclair's commanding officer would decide whether to reduce Sinclair's rank - which could also cost him dearly in benefits.

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


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An Army general's sentencing for inappropriate relationships with subordinates has been pushed back by at least one more day.

A military judge adjourned the sentencing hearing for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair until Thursday morning. Prosecutors and defense attorneys had delivered closing arguments Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors have asked the judge to dismiss Sinclair from the Army, which would likely wipe out his benefits. Sinclair has pleaded guilty to several charges including adultery - which is a crime in the military.

He had been accused of sexual assault, but those charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.

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


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An Army general who had inappropriate relationships with subordinates appeared to break down in tears as a letter from his wife was read in court.

A defense attorney for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair read the letter Wednesday at his sentencing hearing before a military judge.

Sinclair buried his head in his hands, appeared to cry and dabbed his eyes with two tissues.

His wife writes that she hasn't fully forgiven her husband but doesn't want the Army to punish him and his family further.

Sinclair was expected to deliver his own statement after a short recess. Closing arguments by both sides are expected before the judge decides on his sentence.

Sinclair had been accused of sexual assault during his affair with one subordinate, but the charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. Adultery is a violation of military law.

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


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Defense witnesses are testifying about the character of an Army general who admitted to inappropriate relationships with three subordinates as his sentencing draws to a close.

Col. Kenneth Kelly was among the final group of witnesses called on Wednesday to discuss serving in the Army with Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair.

Kelly says Sinclair was a selfless leader who was more concerned about his soldiers than his bosses.

The defense plans to call about five more witnesses and deliver a closing statement. It's not clear when the judge will rule.

Prosecutors have countered some of the witnesses by asking them whether a true leader would ask subordinates for nude pictures.

Sinclair had been accused of sexual assault during his affair with one subordinate, but the charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. Adultery is a violation of military law.

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


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The sentencing hearing for an Army general who admitted to inappropriate relationships with three subordinates is expected to wrap up after testimony by character witnesses.

Lawyers for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair say they'll call about 10 more character witnesses but should be finished by the afternoon. Prosecutors will have a chance for a short rebuttal, then a judge will decide the general's fate. Whether he'll deliberate for minutes or days isn't known.

Sinclair faces a maximum of 21-1/2 years in prison and dismissal from the Army, but will likely wind up with a far less severe punishment.

The judge will give Sinclair a sentence that can't exceed terms in the agreement struck between defense lawyers and military attorneys over the weekend, but hasn't been made public.

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


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The sentencing hearing for an Army general who admitted to emotionally harming a subordinate during an affair will continue Tuesday at Fort Bragg.

Prosecutors have a few more witnesses Tuesday to testify against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair.

Sinclair's lawyers will argue that the 27-year veteran shouldn't go to jail. Defense attorneys say they have about 20 witnesses. Sinclair will read a statement and could testify.

The woman who accused Sinclair of forcing himself on her testified Monday that she can't trust anyone and fears her superiors are always going to take advantage of her.

The most serious charges against Sinclair were dropped. He still faces a maximum of more than 21 years in prison, but will likely face far less time and may not go to jail at all.

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

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A surprise deal with the prosecution has resulted in the most serious sexual assault charges against a Fort Bragg Army General being dropped.

The move has once again raised questions about a perceived lack of prosecution when it comes to sexual assaults among the military ranks.

Army Brigadier General Jeffery Sinclair took a plea deal after admitting to adultery and the mistreatment of his accuser. The sexual assault charge, which was the most serious charge against him, has been dropped.

WITN spoke with Congressman Walter Jones about the deal, as he attended the opening of a new Greenville V.A. Health Clinic on Monday.

Jones says, "If this general gets off with two years, I think he's very lucky because what they've accused him of doing is very serious."

Sinclair, the former 82nd Airborne Commander at Fort Bragg, was accused of twice forcing a female captain to perform sex actions during a three-year long extramarital affair.

Jones says the case is part of a much bigger issue.

"This is a problem. Let's face it," says Congressman Jones. "There is a problem in the military and all of the branches of sexual abuse and sexual assaults and people need to be held accountable. That's a serious crime. It should not be a decision made up to the base commander whether the charges should move forward or not. It should be the legal department within the military at that base."

Jones says that he's backing colleagues in both the House and Senate regarding legislation that would change the way that process works.

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An Army general who admitted to inappropriate relationships with three soldiers who had served under his command pleaded guilty Monday to a host of lesser charges as prosecutors dropped the most serious - sexual assault counts - as part of a deal.

The hearing at Fort Bragg caps the high-profile prosecution of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair. It comes as the military continues to grapple with revelations of sex crimes in its ranks and political pressure to address the issue. A sentencing hearing for Sinclair - believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to face court-martial on sexual assault charges - could begin as soon as Monday.

Sinclair pleaded to the lesser charges in exchange for the Army dropping sexual assault charges and two other counts that might have required him to register as a sex offender.

The possible sentence on new pleas could be 10.5 years, and that's on top of the maximum of 15 years for previous guilty pleas.

Sinclair, 51, had been accused of twice forcing a female captain under his command to perform oral sex during a three-year extramarital affair. The Associated Press does not generally identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

Defense attorney Richard Scheff said Monday that Sinclair is admitting to his mistakes, but added that the general is pleading guilty to behavior that likely wouldn't be criminal in the civilian world.

Scheff said he expected Sinclair to "to retire at a reduced rank and go home to his family." Scheff said he understands that the military needs to take a harder line against sexual assault but that there must be a balance: "It doesn't mean every complaint that's brought should go forward."

The Army's case against Sinclair started to crumble as questions arose about whether his primary accuser had lied in a pre-trial hearing. It was further thrown into jeopardy last week when Judge Col. James Pohl said the military may have improperly pressed ahead with the trial to send a message about its determination to curb rape and other widespread misconduct. Under the military code of justice, the decision was supposed to be decided solely on the evidence, not its broader political implications.

Ultimately, a judge will give Sinclair a sentence that can't exceed terms in the agreement struck between defense lawyers and military attorneys.

Sinclair may face additional administrative penalties from the Army, which could force him to retire at reduced rank. That could cost Sinclair hundreds of thousands of dollars in pension benefits.

Retired Maj. Gen. Walt Huffman, a Texas Tech University law professor who previously served as the Army's top lawyer, said Sinclair could be busted back two ranks to lieutenant colonel because the affair at the heart of the case began before his most recent promotion.

Huffman also said it's possible the judge could sentence Sinclair to a punishment lower than what's called for in the plea agreement.

"If the judge determines he was a good soldier who served his country well other than his inability to control his zipper, then the judge might cut him a break," Huffman said. "But either way, his career in the Army is going to be over."

Sinclair's new plea agreement was approved and signed over the weekend by a high-ranking general overseeing the case, according to a copy provided by the defense team.

The married 27-year Army veteran pleaded guilty earlier this month to having improper relationships with three subordinate officers, including the female captain who accused him of assault. He also pleaded guilty to adultery, which is a crime in the military.

Under the plea deal reached over the weekend, Sinclair also admits to abusing a government credit card he used while traveling to visit his mistress.

Prosecutors did not comment on the deal or the case before Monday's hearing.

According to the defense, a separate agreement reached with Fort Bragg commander Maj. Gen. Clarence K.K. Chinn, who approved the plea deal, will dictate what punishments Sinclair will receive.

That part of the agreement will remain secret until after Pohl conducts the sentencing hearing. That process will include testimony from about 20 witnesses.

It was not immediately clear whether his primary accuser will be among those called to the stand.

At the hearing, Pohl will sentence Sinclair based on the evidence presented before unsealing the plea deal. Sinclair will receive whichever is the lesser punishment - the judge's sentence or the negotiated pre-sentencing agreement with prosecutors.

Capt. Cassie L. Fowler, the military lawyer assigned to represent the accuser's interests, did not respond to a message seeking comment Sunday.

In a December letter, Fowler had argued to prosecutors that dismissing the sexual assault charges against Sinclair would not only harm her client, but would set back the military's broader fight to combat sexual assault.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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A military judge has accepted an Army general's guilty pleas on lesser charges in a deal that includes the dropping of sexual assault charges against him.

The hearing Monday at Fort Bragg caps the high-profile prosecution of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair. It comes as the military continues to grapple with revelations of sex crimes in its ranks and political pressure to address the issue. A sentencing hearing for Sinclair is expected to begin after a two-hour recess.

He is believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to face court-martial on sexual assault charges.

Sinclair, 51, had been accused of twice forcing a female captain under his command to perform oral sex during a three-year extramarital affair.

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


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Defense attorneys say an Army general has agreed to a plea deal that includes the dropping of sexual assault charges against him.

A news release Sunday from lawyers representing Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair says that he will plead to lesser charges in exchange for having the sexual assault charges dropped along with two others that might have required Sinclair to register as a sex offender.

The news release says the agreement has been approved and signed by a high-ranking general overseeing the case. It says Sinclair will plead guilty to several other charges.

Defense attorney Richard Scheff says in the news release that Sinclair is admitting to his mistakes and that it's time to put the matter to rest.

Sinclair was accused of twice forcing a female captain to perform oral sex on him during a three-year extramarital affair.

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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The trial of an Army general accused of sexual assaulting a female captain under his command heads back to a Fort Bragg courtroom.

Officials at the North Carolina Army base say the trial of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair suddenly postponed last week will resume Monday.

Sinclair spokesman Josh Zeitz says there haven't been any major developments since the trial judge on Tuesday sent the jury of five two-star generals back to their duty stations around the world.

Zeitz says negotiations over a plea bargain continue and Monday's hearing will deal with procedural issues if the trial continues later.

Sinclair is the former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division. He's accused of twice forcing a female captain to perform oral sex on him during a three-year extramarital affair.


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