U.S. News


Plea Deal Reached In Army General's Sexual Assault Case

The defense for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair reportedly reached a deal that would drop the most serious charges after the prosecution's case unraveled.
Posted at 9:55 PM, Mar 16, 2014

One of the military's most high-profile sexual assault cases looks like it's nearing the end, and Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair may not face any jail time after all.

"The government alleges Sinclair used his rank and authority to coerce a female soldier to have and maintain a sexual relationship with him." (Via ABC)

Sinclair's accuser claims he forced her to perform oral sex on him and threatened her and her family if she revealed their affair. He's also been accused of soliciting nude photos from other female soldiers, among other charges. (Via CBS)

Sinclair faced life in prison if convicted on those charges, but earlier this year the prosecution's case began to look shaky.

In January, the defense claimed a cell phone found with texts between Sinclair and the accuser proved she had lied under oath. And last week the judge dismissed the jury, saying the trial had been unfairly influenced. (Via WTVD)

"The judge was concerned that pressure from higher up in the Army and Congress may have led officials at Fort Bragg to turn down a plea deal offered by Sinclair's team in December." (Via WNCN)

The political pressure came in the form of emails from officials who thought a plea deal would send the wrong message, and would spur Congressional efforts to take sexual assault charges outside the chain of command. (Via Office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand)

The judge gave Sinclair's team a chance to make a new plea deal, and according to The New York Times, they succeeded.

The Times reported Sunday Sinclair plans to plead guilty to lesser charges, including disobeying orders, mistreating a subordinate and abusing a government charge card. In exchange, the most serious charges will be dropped, including anything that would label Sinclair a sex offender.

The plea is reportedly set to be entered Monday. It's not known what Sinclair's sentence would be, but it's likely to include at least a stiff fine and forced retirement at a lower rank.