A Senior Army Officer accused of sexual assault has agreed to plead guilty to charges that are significantly less serious than the charges on which he was originally indicted.
Even though Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair is facing court-martial on reduced charges in light of his plea deal, it’s likely that he will still be required to leave the military as well as receive other punishments to be determined upon the completion of the sentencing hearing.
The newly reduced charges against General Sinclair include disobeying a commander’s order, misusing his government charge card and mistreating a captain who was his mistress. The guilty plea means that prosecutors will dismiss the more severely punishable charges brought against General Sinclair, one such charge being that he sexually assaulted the captain on two occasions and threatened to kill her and her family.
The New York Times reports that the general’s guilty pleas, albeit to less severe charges, may cause General Sinclair’s 27-year military career to come to an end. Conviction on the original charges could have meant life in prison for General Sinclair in addition to being required to register as a sex offender. The 51-year-old general is one of the highest ranking officers to face court-martial in recent decades.
According to the Times, the defense team is focused on trying to cast doubt on the credibility of the captain, with whom Gen. Sinclair admitted to having a three-year affair, but maintains that he never assaulted. The defense formulated an argument that the captain made up the assault allegations in response to the general’s alleged refusal to leave his wife.
Defense lawyers say General Sinclair is willing to retire two steps below his current rank as a lieutenant colonel, which could potentially cost him more than $1 million in lost retirement pay.
This result at a highly publicized court-martial is not surprising given the military’s recent inability to prosecute high profile sexual assault related courts-martial. Interestingly, in response to a great deal of negative publicity over the past two years, the Army’s push from the top down to successfully prosecute Brig. Gen. Sinclair resulted in allegations of undue command influence that ultimately derailed this high profile prosecution. With excellent work by his defense team, defense attorneys were able to raise questions about the military’s ability to acceptably handle high profile cases, especially those that relate to sexual assault.
Fort Carson & Colorado Springs, CO Sexual Misconduct Civilian Defense Attorney
If you are facing court-martial on allegations of sexual misconduct, don’t hesitate to seek advice from an expert civilian military defense attorney. Retaining an attorney that’s experienced with sexual misconduct cases could change the route of your case, as well as the outcome. Whether you have just been brought up on charges or want to appeal a conviction, the military law attorneys of Court Martial Law serving Fort Carson and Colorado Springs, CO and the surrounding areas are here for you, call 303-567-7981 for a free consultation.