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Sinclair Army judge rips prosecutors about turning over evidence

FORT BRAGG, N.C., March 10 (UPI) -- A U.S. military judge ripped Army prosecutors Monday for not turning over evidence to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's lawyers in his sexual assault court-martial.

Col. James L. Pohl also dismissed the jury seated at Fort Bragg, N.C., for the day and granted a defense motion to reconsider his dismissal last week of a request to drop all charges against Sinclair, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Sinclair's lawyers said he couldn't get a fair trial because the case was tainted by "unlawful command influence" by top Army officials.

Pohl's rulings came after prosecutors during the weekend gave defense lawyers emails that indicated senior Army legal officers had doubts about the credibility of the Army captain who claimed Sinclair forced her to perform oral sex and threatened to kill her and her family if she revealed their three-year affair, the Times said.

RELATED U.S. Army captain testifies on affair with general

The judge demanded to know why prosecutors turned over the emails five days after he ruled on the defense motion for them and after testimony began Friday in the court-martial.

"Do we have to wait two months in the middle of the trial before we get these?" Pohl asked. "When does it end?" Pohl asked the lead government prosecutor. "You dribble discovery to the defense ... we have hearing after hearing ... and then a little more comes out."

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The emails apparently indicate concern among Army officials about the accuser's truthfulness beyond similar concerns expressed by the lead prosecutor before he quit the case last month after failing to get the Army to drop the most serious charges against Sinclair, the Times said.

RELATED Brig. Gen. Sinclair pleads guilty to inappropriate relationships

Sinclair, 51, the former deputy commander of U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan, pleaded guilty Thursday to adultery, inappropriate relationships with two other female officers, attempting an inappropriate relationship with a third female officer, impeding an investigation and viewing pornography while on duty.

The accuser testified Friday Sinclair twice forced her to perform oral sex at a military base in Afghanistan and that he groped her against her will in a hotel room in Arizona during a sexual-assault conference in 2011.

RELATED Court-martial of U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Sinclair begins

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