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The New York Times: General Is Reprimanded, but Spared Jail, in Misconduct Case

March 20, 2014

The New York Times
By Richard A. Oppel, Jr.

FORT BRAGG, N.C., — Bringing to an end the most closely watched sexual misconduct trial in the military, a judge on Thursday morning reprimanded Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair for mistreating an Army captain who was his mistress, among other offenses, but did not sentence him to jail time and allowed him to remain in the military.

General Sinclair was also ordered to forfeit $5,000 a month in pay for four months, but will be allowed to keep his pension and other benefits.

The decision the judge, Col. James L. Pohl, was a sweeping victory for the defense: a plea agreement reached General Sinclair’s lawyers and military prosecutors earlier this week called for capping prison time at 18 months and did not ensure that he could keep his pension.

[…]

Though the judge allowed General Sinclair to remain in the military and denied prosecutors’ request to dismiss him from the service — an action that would have stripped him of his military pension — his chief defense lawyer, Richard L. Scheff, said after the sentencing that the general “will be putting in his retirement papers.” He is likely to retire as a lieutenant colonel, the last rank he held before the misconduct covered in his guilty pleas took place.

From the start, the case was a public relations disaster for the Army, and over time it became a legal nightmare for the prosecution.

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