Military judge suspend sex assault trial against Sinclair indefinitely

March 11, 2014 at 4:30 PM
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FORT BRAGG, N.C., March 11 (UPI) -- The sex assault court-martial against U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was halted Tuesday as Sinclair's lawyers and prosecutors tried to negotiate a plea.

On Monday, Army Col. James Pohl, the military judge hearing the case, declared he found evidence of improper political interference by the Army in the case and gave Sinclair's lawyers an opportunity to seek a deal even though testimony began last week.

Pohl told the jury of five male generals Tuesday he did not know how long the court-martial might be suspended, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Sinclair's lead attorney, Richard Scheff, said he expected the delay to last several weeks as the two sides negotiate, the Times said.

Sinclair, 51, the former deputy commander of U.S. troops in southern Afghanistan, pleaded guilty last week 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 defense now has the option of withdrawing that plea in its attempt to negotiate a better deal, the Times said.

Scheff said Sinclair won't move from his claim he did not sexually assault or threaten anyone. He also declined to say whether Sinclair would insist on not serving any time in prison or a retiring at a reduced rank.

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.

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