Cellphone records at heart of military sexual assault trial

Jan. 8, 2014 at 3:58 PM
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FORT BRAGG, N.C., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- An Army captain lied under oath about a cellphone used during an adulterous affair with a general, defense lawyers in Fort Bragg, N.C., alleged.

Brig. Gen. Jeff Sinclair's legal team says the unidentified woman who accuses him of sexual assault lied during a pretrial hearing Tuesday about dates a cellphone was activated. The cellphone contains voice and text messages from Sinclair that were made during their affair.

With the prosecution of Sinclair dependent on the truthfulness of the accuser's testimony, defense lawyer Richard Scheff said, "This is an extremely weak case and it shouldn't go forward."

A December court order noted concerns the stored phone messages could have been deleted or altered.

Sinclair and the captain have admitted to an adulterous affair, which is illegal under military law, but Sinclair has denied accusations of sexual assault. A conviction for sexual assault could imprison Sinclair and cost his dependents retirement pay and benefits.

The captain testified Tuesday she stopped using the cellphone in question and did not activate it again until Dec. 9, the (Fayetteville, N.C.) Observer reported Wednesday.

"I was pretty overwhelmed with what I found on that phone," she said, a reference to old messages from Sinclair.

Military investigators analyzed the phone. Testifying Tuesday by telephone, Marcus Lawson of the Global Compusearch digital forensics firm said data stored on the phone indicated it was in use from Nov. 24 and recorded 115 records of signals between the phone and a cellphone tower, contradicting the captain's testimony.

The defense team and prosecutors agreed to have the captain's other cellphones examined to learn if they were in use during the affair, the newspaper said.

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