The New York Times reports:

The Army general prosecuted in the military’s most closely watched sexual assault case has agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for the dismissal of accusations that he twice forced his longtime mistress into oral sex, threatened to kill her and her family, and performed consensual but “open and notorious sexual acts” with her in a parked car in Germany and on a hotel balcony in Tucson.

h/t D_P.

16 Responses to “Just thrown over the transom”

  1. RKincaid3 says:

    Hmmm…interesting development.  And not totally unexpected.  I wonder how Congress will react to this development as, if it is true, Sinclair is avoiding the most serious charges .  Congress is faced with either quietly accept the CAs exercise of his discretionary decision to accept the plea, as unpopular as it may be, or vilify it as yet another example of the military failing to properly handle sex assault cases.  I am also eager to see how (and if) he can actually manage to save his retirement.  That fact alone, if it happens, might be a bridge to far for Congress to accept.

  2. Bill Cassara says:

    Interesting to see whether the deal requires JA or a panel and, if so, what the result will be. I actually think he might be better with a judge.

  3. stewie says:

    If it’s a panel, he better cut those sideburns…they might get him a couple of months in prison.

  4. DCGoneGalt says:

    Good to see the Army realized that taking it to court would only result in further embarrassment.  The Gen should be disciplined for the horrible example he set.  As we all know, the Capt will not be disciplined for her misconduct (and false statement) but I am hoping she doesn’t end up becoming the star of Invisible War II: Rise of the 2%’ers.

  5. Tami says:

    The panel has already seen him, and his hair.  Let’s just say he doesn’t need to worry much about being held to standard.  But agree he’s better off judge alone, COL Pohl may want to send another message to Congress.

  6. A.Firefly says:

    If seems like if a General was going to force a Captain into non-consensual sexual acts, he would make sure to do it in an “open and notorious manner” to minimize his chances of the crime being observed.

  7. charlie gittins says:

    I am guessing they made the substitute CA a dead-end GO who had no prospects for promotion, because that’s the way the Army would work.  No panel for this sentencing if DC has a clue.  As much as I wouldn’t go judge alone for merits for these facts with Judge Pohl, I think he is pretty reliable and reasonable on sentence.  I hope the P’s put the prosecutrix on the stand on sentencing.  That could be one of the most fun cross’s ever.  The exquisite detail of the facts that could be used on cross would be more fun than a skydive.  Now that she is no longer a sex assault victim, we should be seeing her adulteress namein the press, if the press has a pair of stones.

  8. dyskolos says:

    A pragmatic solution. I concur that JA is the way to go. 

  9. Some Army Guy says:

    MG Chinn is anything except a dead-end GO.  But let’s not let facts stand in the way of our rampant, uninformed speculation.

  10. some TC says:

    Several news sites are reporting that Sinclair will likely be reduced. Last time I checked that’s not a lawful punishment. I’m sure they mean that he’ll retire at highest grade held, but that’s not really the same thing.

  11. Charlie Gittins says:

    SAG:  MG Chinn is likely to find himself in the same position as LTG Helms, so if he wasn’t terminal before, he probably is now.  I don’t consider that uninformed speculation; I consider it understanding history.

  12. Bill Cassara says:

    Some TC: I take it to read that he will not contest any action by the Army Grade Determination Review Board to reduce him to the highest rank satisfactorily held, which was 0-5.  So while the MJ can’t reduce him, the AGDRB can and likely will.

  13. Phil Cave says:

    The media and Congress frenzy around LtGen Franklin and LtGen Helms have maybe put Congress in a box.
    If the act or speak out now in regard to this CA it will add to the growing conviction that a military accused can’t and won’t get a fair consideration in the charging process and at trial.
    But if they don’t then, why do we need commanders out of the decision making process?
    And the issue of MJA or panel is one of the more undiscussed concerns I have at the trial level.
    Officer members in the grade of O-3 and above require congressional advice and consent for promotion.  Remember what happened after Tailhook?  Officers not promoted who were present at Tailhook and were completely uninvolved with any misconduct, the affidavits we had to sign attesting to, “I have not now nor have i ever been to Tailhook.”  That’s understanding history is it not Charlie.  So, now how can a member not be concerned about his/her next evaluation, and future promotion?  With all of the concern about UCI this is missed.  Note, that the USNA case is MJA, and that before the recent change in Sinclair I thought I saw it reported they changed to MJA for the merits and sentence.  In the Army with AD 2013-20, members can be – arguably – rated on their panel findings and sentence.  To their credit, the AF in their new change have at least included a prohibition about rating where the person has been a court member.  Haven’t seen anything on new USN/USMC rating or directed comments.
    Agree with Bill.  We can guess at any provision on the dismissal.  But the agreed terms likely include a waiver of a AGDR in the event of no dismissal.  Certainly it appears likely the Board would look to a LTC grade as the misconduct appears to go back to his COL time.

  14. RKincaid3 says:

    CG & PC are correct about history.  And it is recent history.  And Congress is in a box, but they have never been a group that let’s facts get in their way, so I am sure they will find a way to cut this Gordian knot.  However, the statement

    [s]o, now how can a member not be concerned about his/her next evaluation, and future promotion? With all of the concern about UCI this is missed.

    implies that there is a distinction between a panel member’s internal thoughts of self-preseveration and UCI during deliberations.  I respectfully submit, however, that there is no distinction.  Thoughts of self-preservation over (or even along with) the facts and law (as instructed by the MJ), as pushed by either politicians or the chain of command, via Art 25 or any other avenue, is UCI by effect.  It has flowed straight down from the politicians via their subjective stranglehold on military promotions, right down to the G.O.s, down through chain of command and into the deliberation room, where, as PC noted, every 0-3 and above must survive Presidential and Congressional scrutiny in order to advance. 
    That self-preservation dilemma is inherrent (I would argue, by design) in the current system of the same CG refering chargeds to a CM also appointing panel members who have the demonstrated “judicial temperament,” “experience,” training, etc, (some have reasonably argued that those are buzzwords for “is liked by the CA because they don’t rock the boat”).   This is not unique to the military, unfortunately.  In jurisdictions with civilian elected judges–there are internal influences at work with raise questions about the actor’s consideration of the facts and law.  In the case of the military panel member, the question is “will my career and promotion potential survive my vote on this case?” and in the case of civilian elected judges, they think “how will I pay my bills if not re-elected after throwing out this illegally seized evidence against an unpopular defendant?”
    In such situations, justice is not served–self-interest is.  A “just” system identifies where human failure is inevitable and is designed to insulate or minimize such failures–not ignore them by pretending that such human failures don’t and won’t happen.

  15. AP Retired Army JAG says:

    I assume the quantum took a dismissal off the table.  BG Sinclair will upon retirement undergo a Grade Determination Board, see AR 15-80, to determine the highest grade at which he honorably served.  Could be LTC, as the affair started when he was a COL, from the press reports I have read.

  16. Former AFTDC says:

    Reprimand, $20K forfeitures.