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Prosecutors allege 5 women in Army general's sex crimes

By Michael Biesecker

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:32 a.m. HST, Nov 05, 2012

FORT BRAGG, N.C. » U.S. Army prosecutors offered the first details of a rare criminal case against a general, alleging in a military hearing today that he committed sex-related crimes involving four female officers and a civilian.

A hearing on evidence in the case against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair began today at Fort Bragg, home to the 82nd Airborne Division. Officials said the Article 32 hearing, similar to a grand jury proceeding in civilian court, was expected to last at least two days.

But before prosecutors could start presenting their case, defense lawyer Lt. Col. Jackie Thompson said military investigators had violated his client's rights by reading confidential emails he exchanged with his lawyers and wife discussing the accusations against him.

Under questioning from Thompson, the lead investigator for the case acknowledged she had read the confidential e-mails, violating the terms of the subpoena used to obtain them from Sinclair's service provider. Those e-mails were later turned over to prosecutors, who are barred from seeing Sinclair's communications with his counsel.

Thompson then asked Criminal Investigative Command Special Agent Leona Mansapit if she had the resources she needed to conduct a proper investigation in Sinclair's case.

"Probably not, sir," Mansapit replied. "I wish I had."

The defense is asking the officer conducting the hearing, Maj. Gen. Perry L. Wiggins, to either require all new prosecutors to be assigned or that the case be thrown out.

Sinclair faces possible courts martial on charges including forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, violating orders, engaging in inappropriate relationships, misusing a government travel charge card, and possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed.

He served as deputy commander in charge of logistics and support for the division's troops in Afghanistan from July 2010 until he was sent home in May because of the allegations.

The sex-related accusations against Sinclair range from forcing a female officer to perform oral sex to having an extramarital affair with a civilian woman. Sinclair is married and adultery is a crime under the military code of justice.

In one instance, prosecutors also said that Sinclair threatened one woman's military career if she refused his advances. Later, prosecutors alleged that he threatened her life and the lives of her relatives if she told anyone about his actions.

When other officers questioned how the general spoke to women under his command, Sinclair was reported by prosecutors to have replied, "I'm a general. I'll say whatever the (expletive) I want."

Prosecutors alleged the general's illegal acts took place between 2007 and 2012 in places including Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany, as well as Fort Bragg and Fort Hood in Texas.

The Army had kept details secret until now in the rare criminal case against a high-ranking officer. That is different from other high-profile case where Army prosecutors were quick to release charging documents.

In March, the Army quickly released charge sheets laying out evidence against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the soldier accused of gunning down 17 Afghan civilians during a massacre in southern Afghanistan.

The first Article 32 hearing in Bale's case also began today across the country in Washington at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle.

There have been only two other court-martial cases against Army generals in recent years.

Before prosecutors can present evidence to support the accusations against Sinclair, much less move to a courts martial, Wiggins must decide whether to move forward with the Article 32 hearing.

"The investigators were tainted, and they tainted the prosecutors," Thompson told Wiggins. "They bungled the investigation, and if you leave them in place, they will bungle the prosecution as well."

A visibly flustered Lt. Col. William Helixon, the lead prosecutor, was put in the uncomfortable position of calling two of his fellow prosecutors to the witness stand to deny they had read the privileged e-mails. The defense learned of the apparent violation by spotting the e-mails among 16,000 pages of evidence turned over by the prosecution earlier this month.

Wiggins called a recess until 4 p.m. to consider what happens next.

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allie wrote:
on November 5,2012 | 06:47AM
ready2go wrote:
What an embarassment for his family, Army and the US.
on November 5,2012 | 07:03AM
Jsato wrote:
No doubt this is part of a culture in the military that allows sexual exploitation and abuse of women. It's a disgrace to our military and all but the most egregious offenses will be ignored.
on November 5,2012 | 06:58PM
joseph007 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 5,2012 | 07:37AM
Mana07 wrote:
Justice under the UCMJ is a heck of a lot more swift and severe than our pathetic liberal civilian justice system. If indeed this piece of garbage general is guilty he will be stripped of all rank and incarcerated in Ft. Leavenworth as he should be.
on November 5,2012 | 10:31AM
EwaWarrior wrote:
Too bad the UCMJ doesn't apply to the Commander in Chief. We have an ex-president who committed similar crimes, only to be impeached, but left to serve out his term in office.
on November 5,2012 | 11:22AM
Mana07 wrote:
You're right! The current Commander in Chief should be tried because of Benghazi and treasonous relationships with the muslim brotherhood.
on November 5,2012 | 05:18PM
64hoo wrote:
maybe obama should be charge for the covreup of bengazigate. we should ask inouye to help prosecute obama that way he can go after another president like he did nixon and get another feather in his cap.
on November 5,2012 | 06:56PM
Dtab wrote:
At his rank a letter of reprimand and force to retire!!!
on November 5,2012 | 02:37PM
EwaWarrior wrote:
I think the charges are severe enough that if found guilty, he will probably servce time, be reduced in rank, and lose his retirement benefits, serving as an example for all other officers that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
on November 5,2012 | 11:21AM
konakeoni99 wrote:
he doesn't deserve any retirement pay!!! bust him down and send him to Ft. Leavenworth!!!
on November 5,2012 | 07:47AM
false wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 5,2012 | 07:57AM
Oye_Como_Va wrote:
Wasn't the latest, 'This We'll Defend' and the recruiting slogans, 'An Army of One and Be All That You Can Be'? No matter in this case, Sinclair fits them all.
on November 5,2012 | 10:25AM
ejkorvette wrote:
War is Hell and this is another Sickening face of it. There is nothing more shameful and unforgiveable, then the total breach of trust, and then the blatant abuse of positional authority and the power assigned to it. As Disgraceful and Unthinkable this act is on all levels, especially within the fighting forces that we Americans endorse and support unconditionally, these Heinous acts are committed throughout the Spectrum of our American Society. In Politics and public service, In our schools, In our Houses of Worship, and in many cases right in our Homes. The Moral Fiber of our Country is poisoned, corrupted, bankrupt, and compromised by the Disease of Evil, of Sin, and by the allowable weakness of those without Faith. This Sickness will be the undoing of the Human Race.
on November 5,2012 | 08:49AM
cojef wrote:
Tragedy of War! Wars have debilitated our Nation to extent that within 5 years we will no longer #1 economically. Our debt was caused by the last 2 Wars. Peaceful solutions must be engaged in order to secure future greatness for our Nation.
on November 5,2012 | 09:05AM
allie wrote:
true...but this dude is taking advantage of powerless women. I know. I was recruited in North Dakota when I was 17. I was dirt poor and the army was waving recruiting bonuses around. You know, send the dirt poor to die in meaningless wars for israel and wars. I needed the cash but turned them down. No need to be sexually harassed or sent to die for needless wars.
on November 5,2012 | 11:02AM
palolo2001 wrote:
How much was the bonus going to be?
on November 5,2012 | 12:02PM
allie wrote:
It was part of a nightmare. It all looked very good when a girl is hungry and cold. UH rescued me. Love my UH! There should be a draft where all the serve their country-not just the wretched poor. If all were asked to serve, including the dreadful looking Romney boys, there would be no more wars as the rich would refuse to fight!
on November 5,2012 | 03:16PM
turbolink wrote:
Come on Allie, how does a bonus from a recruiter, which is very common, tie to what you refer to as a general officer taking advantage of powerless women? Two totally different things. There's a very good chance you didn't turn down the Army, it was the other way around.
on November 5,2012 | 03:43PM
cunfuzd4 wrote:
turbo, what does it matter? If it's even true that Alfred/Albert/Allie was in the service which is HIGHLY UNLIKELY!! IT got paid and we got short changed.
on November 6,2012 | 06:05PM
aaronkwills wrote:
hang him
on November 5,2012 | 09:14AM
Morimoto wrote:
If in fact he is guilty, he should ideally be castrated although I assume all he'll receive is a reduction in rank and a dishonorable discharge. The military justice system is a joke, nothing more than a show put on to satisfy the public with the illusion that something is being done and someone is being punished when in reality it's just a slap on the wrist. I respect soldiers like Nadal Hasan so much more than this POS, coward. At least Hasan fought as a soldier, this POS is just a cowardly lowlife.
on November 5,2012 | 10:05AM
serious wrote:
I have been in charge of several courts marshalls and they are not a joke. Each side has fair represention, and the scales of justice are certainly weighed. The excellent thing about the system is that it is swift, not drawn out. Not a 2-3 month OJ trial.
on November 5,2012 | 10:27AM
Morimoto wrote:
Fair representation according to who? Then tell me why these trials always seem to end with slaps on the wrist? I remember other sexual assault cases and war crimes trials where the trial was held but the punishment was nothing. You may go through all the proper procedures but the end result is what really matters. You wanna bet he'll be out of prison in 20 years max, if he serves time at all?
on November 5,2012 | 11:03AM
serious wrote:
The defendant can have---just like the civlian courts--- a court appointed attorney (military) or a civilian attorney which they pay for or a pro bono. Military officers at these courts marshalls are tough on each other and they are reviewed by the "highers" right up to Leon!!!
on November 5,2012 | 11:21AM
Morimoto wrote:
But you still didn't tell my why the punishments seem so lenient, or is that just my imagination? Just seems that the punishment doesn't fit the crime. Wanna take me up on my bet? What kind of punishment do you think he'll receive?
on November 5,2012 | 11:49AM
st1d wrote:
right, sure you were. it's a court "martial" and not court "marshalls" which is still a misspelling of "marshal".
on November 5,2012 | 01:23PM
And he is a general. Using his rank to get sex. What is wrong with him. Can you imagine how many generals are doing it and getting away with it. How about any high ranking officers. His pension should be denied and they should give him a dishonorable discharge with nothing.
on November 5,2012 | 02:22PM
kaupani wrote:
There are certainly other flag officers who have this same attitude, "I'm a general and can do whatever the **** I want." Private industry VPs throw around the same power trips, but it's harder to fight in the military. Too much power concentrated in too few positions. Power does indeed corrupt.
on November 5,2012 | 05:52PM
anakemo wrote:
on November 6,2012 | 03:59AM
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