Plea deferred at general's court-martial

Jan. 22, 2013 at 6:38 PM

FORT BRAGG, N.C., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair deferred entering a plea Tuesday at his Fort Bragg, N.C., arraignment on charges including fraud and forcible sodomy.

Sinclair, who is also charged with coercion and inappropriate relationships, declined to choose whether he will be tried by a jury or by a judge, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported.

Sinclair formerly served as a deputy commanding general for support of the 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg. He was sent back to the United States from Afghanistan last spring after he was accused of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Lawyers in the case said Tuesday the list of potential witnesses includes Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and Maj. Gen. James Huggins, a former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Sinclair faces a prison term if convicted of counts including using his rank and authority to "coerce and compel" the Army captain to engage in a sexual relationship and threatening her if she disclosed the relationship.

He has admitted engaging in sexual conduct with an Army captain who served on his staff but he maintains the relationship was consensual.

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