The brigadier general, Jeffrey Sinclair, who was facing trial for charges of sexual assault, will plead guilty to lesser charges and the sexual assault charges will be dropped. The case took a turn earlier this month, when it was discovered that one of the witnesses may have lied on the stand. The general will plead guilty to adultery, mistreating his accuser, and misuse of a government credit card.
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair will plead guilty to adultery and mistreating his accuser in a deal that will see the sexual assault and sodomy charges against him dropped, according to his defense team and CNN affiliate WTVD.
Maj. Gen. Clarence Chinn, a commander at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where the court-martial has been taking place, approved Sinclair’s offer to plea this weekend, making it a binding document, according to a statement from the defense.
Defense attorney Richard Scheff applauded the decision while attacking the Pentagon, which the defense has accused of interfering in the case, and Sinclair’s accuser, an Army captain the defense has painted as a jilted lover who was upset that the general wouldn’t leave his wife.
“After wasting millions of taxpayer dollars, the Army finally admitted what it’s known for many months: General Sinclair is innocent of sexual assault. Two successive prosecutors agreed that these charges should be dropped, as did two successive staff judge advocates,” Scheff said in a statement.
He continued, “The government understood that if it allowed BG Sinclair’s accuser to be cross-examined, she would be caught in a thick web of her own lies. It shouldn’t have taken two years for them to come to this conclusion, but they were driven by politics rather than justice.”
Scheff concluded his remarks, saying that the “reputational and financial costs” Sinclair has suffered because of “false rape allegations” should be factored into his sentencing.
The testimony of the general’s accuser was never fully aired. She testified for several hours March 7, telling the court that the affair started with intimate exchanges and evolved into groping and demands for sex and oral sex, WTVD reported. She also said the general threatened to kill her and her family, the station reported.
She was scheduled to continue her testimony March 10, but Col. James Pohl, the presiding judge in the court-martial, dismissed the jury after 22 pages of e-mails emerged that appear to point to alleged Pentagon interference in the case. At least one of the e-mails also seemed to indicate that a senior Army official felt the accuser had a credibility issue.