Political correctness rears its ugly head. Update to a previous story
A military judge ruled Monday that the U.S. Army improperly interfered with a decision to reject an offer by Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair to plead guilty to lesser charges in his sexual assault case.
The judge, Col. James C. Pohl, ruled that Army officials exerted “unlawful command influence’’ when a three-star general turned down Sinclair’s offer before the trial. He gave defense attorneys the option of renewing Sinclair’s original plea offer or a different plea offer; in any case, the judge said, the case must be overseen by a new command authority.
Evidence of command decisions in the case did not come to light until after Sinclair’s accuser, a fellow Army officer, testified Friday that Sinclair sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill her and her family if she disclosed their three-year sexual affair.
Defense attorneys learned of the new evidence over the weekend, when Army lawyers turned over emails from Army lawyers and the three-star general.
“We’re in a rather unusual place,” the judge said Monday.
The defense has contended that the Army trumped up charges against Sinclair in response to intense political pressure to show that it is cracking down on sexual abuse. Sinclair was charged at a time of heightened political and public concern about a surge of sexual violence in the military.
Pohl last week dismissed an earlier defense motion to drop all charges because of unlawful command influence. But that was before the incriminating emails were aired in court Monday morning.