Army General's Plea Deal Drops Sexual Assault Charges: Attorneys

Image: Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair
Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair leaves the courthouse with attorneys Richard Scheff (L) and Ellen Brotman at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina on March 4. Sinclair's court-martial on a sexual assault charge that could send him to prison for life got under way on Tuesday, one of the few such proceedings against a top U.S. military officer in recent decades.ELLEN OZIER / Reuters file

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An Army general has agreed to a plea agreement that includes dropping sexual assault charges against him, defense attorneys said Sunday.

Lawyers representing Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair — who was accused of forcing a female captain to perform oral sex and threatening her life during an previously consensual affair — said that he will plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for having the sexual assault charges dropped.

According to a news release from Sinclair’s lead attorney Richard Scheff, two other charges that may have required him to register as a sexual offender will also be dismissed.

“After wasting millions of taxpayer dollars, the Army finally admitted what it’s known for many months: General Sinclair is innocent of sexual assault," Scheff said.

Sinclair, 51, will plead guilty to several other charges and admit "mistreatment" of his accuser, according to the news release.

Fort Bragg, N.C., commander Maj. Gen. Clarence K.K. Chinn has approved the the plea agreement, the attorneys said.

A Fort Bragg representative for Chinn wasn't immediately available to confirm the deal.

Sinclair, who has admitted to a three-year affair with his accuser but has maintained his innocence of the charges, is scheduled to appear at the Fort Bragg Courthouse on Monday.

Sinclair had already pleaded guilty to several counts of adultery, obstruction of justice and conduct unbecoming an officer.

The military judge, Col. James Pohl, agreed to halt Sinclair's trial last week after he suggested that a commanding general at Fort Bragg, Lt. General Joseph Anderson, may have been influenced by political pressures in bringing charges against Sinclair.

The Pentagon and military have been under increasing political pressure to become more aggressive in prosecutions of those accused of sexual assault in the military.

— Jeff Black and Jim Miklaszewski