Passage of the bill coincidentally took place during the same week that Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair went on trial for forcing a captain to perform oral sex after she tried to end a secret affair. The captain grew up in Nebraska and joined the military after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.Two days ago, the New York Times, in a piece titled How a Military Sexual Assault Case Foundered , described how the case against Sinclair was falling apart. The accuser lied under oath about how she 'found' her iPhone, a vital piece of exonerating evidence, concealing evidence that it had been recently heavily used and possibly tampered with. She had previously changed her story several times, and made the allegation of sexual assault only after getting into legal trouble herself. There was testimony she had denied she was raped, and text messages and diary entries suggest she was infatuated with Sinclair and was having a consensual affair.
The lead prosecutor
issued an ultimatum to his bosses at Fort Bragg: abandon the most serious charges or he would quit the case, citing his concerns over the iPhone testimony, according to testimony by a colleague, Lt. Col. Jerrett Dunlap.As a result, the judge in the trial stopped it Tuesday because of 'unlawful command influence', basically finding the prosecutors were being pressured into trying an unwinnable case for political reasons.
Update on March 17: Sinclair will plead guilty to a number of minor offenses, most of which are not crimes in the civilian world. All charges involving sexual assault, coercion, or defrauding the government were dropped. To quote Gen. Sinclair's attorney
After wasting millions of taxpayer dollars, the Army finally admitted what it's known for many months: General Sinclair is innocent of sexual assault. Two successive prosecutors agreed that these charges should be dropped, as did two successive staff judge advocates...The government understood that if it allowed BG Sinclair's accuser to be cross-examined, she would be caught in a thick web of her own lies. It shouldn't have taken two years for them to come to this conclusion, but they were driven by politics rather than justice.