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Army general defers plea at hearing on sex charges

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 22, 2013 at 7:25 pm •  Published: January 22, 2013
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The female captain at the heart of the case said she carried on a three-year sexual relationship with Sinclair, a father of two. Adultery is a crime under military law, and the admission could end her career.

She testified at the evidentiary hearing that she repeatedly tried to break off the affair with Sinclair, who she says threatened to kill her and her family if she told anyone about their frequent sexual liaisons in hotels, headquarters and war zones. The woman said she usually wanted to have sex with the general, though she said that on two occasions he exposed himself and physically forced her to perform oral sex, even as she sobbed.

The Associated Press does not publicly identify victims of alleged sexual assaults.

Two female officers who served with Sinclair also testified that they had given the general nude photos at his request.

Sinclair is also accused of possessing alcohol in a war zone and disobeying orders. Maj. Gen. James Huggins, Sinclair's superior officer in Afghanistan, testified he ordered Sinclair to cease contact with the female captain after she reported the affair. Sinclair is alleged to have willfully disobeyed that order by then calling the woman's phone.

Sinclair has not yet spoken publically about the charges against him. At the pretrial hearing, his defense lawyers conceded the affair with the female captain, while working to paint her as a liar trying to ruin the general's life and military reputation. During the hearings, they characterized her as a manipulative "back-stabber" who blamed others for her mistakes.

The general's wife, Rebecca Sinclair, has stayed away from court but went public with an opinion piece in The Washington Post. In that column, she said she was not condoning her husband's infidelity, but she said that a decade of war had taken a toll on military couples and brought pressure on their marriages.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rebecca Sinclair said her husband called her last spring to tell her about the affair and allegations, and she said they were trying to mend their relationship.

A New York public relations firm, MWW, has been hired to represent Sinclair and is working to promote the claim he is being railroaded by overzealous prosecutors and a scorned lover.

A website launched Tuesday, www.sinclairinnocence.com , seeks to portray the general in a positive light while making public selected documents from the court files intended to undermine the credibility of the lead prosecutor and accuser.

Spokesman Josh Zeitz of MWW said the firm's fees are being paid for by the Sinclairs and a nonprofit legal defense fund established by the general's "friends and supporters." Zeitz said he could not disclose the identities of the contributors.

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Follow AP writer Michael Biesecker at www.twitter.com/mbieseck