The well put-together defense team of Army General Jeffrey Sinclair has reached an agreement in his longstanding sexual assault case. Lawyers and a public relations firm helped keep the one-star Army General from enduring what possibly could have been a long-term imprisonment for the conviction on the stated charge, in addition to purported death threats. A female accuser, unidentified through Liberty Voice due to the sensitivity and nature of the case, is a 34 year old Army Captain. Commander Sinclair is the defendant in the rare court-martial case of high-ranking Army official, of which there have only been three cases in the past 60 years.
For two years, General Sinclair, 51, married with two children, has been battling with Army attorneys in the investigation of this sexual assault case. His other past encounters with women have now been made public. The female in this case is one of three women serving under him which it is alleged that he treated inappropriately. However, the Army’s case against the defendant weakened as his accuser’s credibility was called into question by Sinclair’s pricey team of attorneys. During the hearing, which has been taking place in Fort Bragg, NC, Richard Scheff, a civilian defense lawyer out of Philadelphia, told the courtroom that because of the woman’s lack of consistency between her accusations and the evidence to be presented, he did not even know where to begin. Judge Col. James Pohl recommended a plea deal in this case, under the approval of Major General Clarence Chinn, a commander at Fort Brag. The defense for General Jeffrey Sinclair had over the weekend reached an agreement his sexual assault case; Sinclair was to plead guilty to committing adultery, a crime while serving in the military. Rather than the sexual assault charges which would have required him to register as a sexual offender, in additional to a maximum of 14 years behind bars, he has pleaded guilty to variety of lesser charges. Probably, his military career is over, and he will have to retire at a lower rank, costing him hundreds of thousands of dollars from his military pension.
The affair between 27-year Army General Jeffrey Sinclair and a female underling began in the summer of 2008. She had joined the Army in 2002 as an Arabic linguist, then started training to become an officer. Deployed to Iraq in the spring of 2008, she was assigned to then-Colonel Sinclair, attending meetings with him and drafting reports based upon her professional reflections. As her duties in the war-zone continued, she testified in court on March 7, that a personal relationship with the brigadier commander intensified through conversations between the two. The woman explained how eventually those talks had become sexual in nature. She implied that he also began telling her about his relationships with other women, that his wife was okay with them, and that he and his wife had even contemplated having a threesome. He said that she reminded him of his wife, the woman testified. Also, in one encounter, she said she was asked by Sinclair to let down her hair, a command which she thought was inappropriate. Rumors swirled on-base about the two, as allegedly their relationship turned sexual.
On a C-130, during a return trip to a base in Germany, the accuser said Sinclair had groped her, while on the plane. Then, she asserted, he said she now belonged to him. In the spring of 2010, the two started meeting together in a parking lot in Germany for a continuation of the mutually desired sexual relationship in the back of her tinted Honda Accord. This went on, it is alleged, until she had to leave the country for a course in Source Operations back in Arizona. In July of that year she was promoted to Captain, working 18 hour days, when Sinclair would allegedly call her at night from his post in Fort Bragg. She says that during this time he asked for her to engage in phone sex with him, a request in which she would not participate.
Her testimony also described being attacked during a visit by the Army General at a Tuscon Marriott hotel. After her refusal to engage in sex out on the hotel balcony, Sinclair went inside the room to book a flight home. The woman said she was packing her things to go when he grabbed her by the throat and threatened her. Still, she confessed, the two ended up spending the night together.
Their relationship went spiraling downward. While back on duty together in Afghanistan, e-mails from an assumed mistress were found by the female accuser. This led her to confiding in another male officer about the souring tryst. The officer told her that he would report what was going on if she did not.
Scheduled for more of her testimony on March 10, Judge Pohl dismissed the jury after he claimed the Pentagon had interfered with 22 pages of e-mails to be used as evidence in the case. One of those e-mails had downplayed the credibility of the primary female accuser. Apparently, there were also discrepancies between when she said she was attacked, and for how long the sexual relationship was allowed to go on. Her journal entries were also brought to the attention of the judge and jury. In those entries, she wrote plentifully about her strong feelings and adoration for the General, even after she claims she was assaulted and harassed. The defense said the sexual assault accusations against Jeffrey Sinclair were invented out of jealousy and bitterness.
Also accused of abusing a government credit card he used while traveling to see his accuser, Sinclair confessed guilt to a lesser charge of that offense. He also pleaded guilty to inappropriate relationships with two other subordinate females, impeding an investigation by deleting e-mails, possessing pornography in a war-zone, and inappropriately asking a another female lieutenant for a date. He awaits Pohl’s verdict, which will have been founded upon evidence given before the unsealing of his plea deal. The agreement which the defense had reached with the Army states that, between the prosecutor’s pre-sentencing deal and the judge’s final sentence, General Jeffrey Sinclair will face the lesser punishment of the two, bringing this two-year investigation to an end. A sentencing hearing could begin as early as Monday, which would include testimony from as many as 20 witnesses.
By Bryan William Myers