In what has become one of the most highly publicized cases of sexual assault in the military, U.S. Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair will plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a dismissal of certain accusations, including the claim that Sinclair threatened to kill his mistress and her family.
The case, which came to light over two years ago, was delayed "indefinitely" as recently as two weeks ago when Judge Colonel James Pohl discovered that politics fueled the decision to court-marshal the general. But the new pleas were shared by the New York Times and are expected to enter into court at Fort Bragg tomorrow morning.
Sinclair's guilty plea will ostensibly absolve him of the sexual assault charges, instead reducing his plea to sexual misconduct, among other more minor charges.
The new guilty pleas expected to be entered Monday include disobeying a commander's order not to contact his mistress, using demeaning language to refer to female officers and using a curse word when confronted about that conduct, and misusing his government travel charge card.
Prior to this shift, Sinclair could have faced life in prison for "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."
Now, Sinclair's punishment could be as minimal as a $5,000 fine, as defense lawyers are using this 2011 case as an example:
They cite the recent case of an Army brigadier general who lost his command and paid a $5,000 fine but was allowed to keep his rank after it was determined he had assaulted a girlfriend and committed adultery.
Sinclair is also expected to retire as a lieutenant colonel, which will cost him over "$1 million in retirement pay." The trial has seen a spate of issues, as the captain who accused Sinclair of sexual assault may have lied under oath at a pretrial hearing.