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Gazette Premium Content Defense: Army general's deal drops sex assault charge

Associated Press - Updated: March 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. — Defense attorneys said Sunday that an Army general has agreed to a plea deal that includes the dropping of sexual assault charges against him.

Lawyers representing Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair said he will plead to lesser charges in exchange for having the sexual assault charges dropped, along with two other counts that might have required Sinclair to register as a sex offender.

Sinclair, 51, had been accused of twice forcing a female captain under his command to perform oral sex on him during a three-year extramarital affair. But the Army's case against Sinclair crumbled in recent weeks as questions arose about whether the woman had lied in a pre-trial hearing.

The defense provided a copy of plea agreement approved and signed by a high-ranking general overseeing the case. Sinclair is expected to appear Monday morning in court at Fort Bragg.

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

Defense attorney Richard Scheff said that Sinclair is admitting to his mistakes, put pointed out that the general is pleading guilty to behavior that wouldn't be criminal in the civilian world.

"After wasting millions of taxpayer dollars, the Army finally admitted what it's known for many months: General Sinclair is innocent of sexual assault," Scheff said. "Brigadier General Sinclair has admitted to mistakes that are normally a matter between husbands and wives, or employees and HR departments. It's time to put this matter to rest."

A spokesman for Fort Bragg commander Maj. Gen. Clarence K.K. Chinn, who approved Sinclair's plea deal, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Follow Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker at Twitter.com/mbieseck

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