SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

March 7, 2014

General admits guilt on 3 counts; denies assault

(Continued)

Sinclair’s wife of nearly 30 years has remained with him through his legal troubles and served as a staunch public defender, though she was not in the courtroom yesterday as he admitted guilt. The couple has two children.

The general also admitted to violating orders by possessing pornography and to conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. After he knew he was under investigation, Sinclair also admitted deleting nude photos from a personal email account sent by a civilian woman with whom he was childhood friends.

Sinclair’s lawyer Richard Scheff said before the plea that his client was taking responsibility for his actions, but also strengthening his legal position. By admitting guilt on the three charges for which there is the strongest evidence, the married father of two hoped to narrow the focus of the trial to charges that rely heavily on the testimony and credibility of his former mistress.

In pleading guilty to possessing a cache of porn on his laptop in Afghanistan, a violation of orders for soldiers in the socially conservative Muslim country, Sinclair’s defense hopes to limit the ability of prosecutors to use those graphic images to shock the jury.

Prosecutors also have evidence Sinclair asked two female officers to send nude photos of themselves to him. By conceding his guilt, the defense lessens the relevance of the messages they exchanged. The primary accuser is the only one alleging assault.

“What remains of this case really rests on the damaged and tattered credibility of an individual who’s not been truthful, who has lied before the court, who has given inconsistent statements,” Scheff said outside the courthouse. “Frankly, I think it’s an embarrassment that this case will go forward. But it’s going forward, and we’ll have not guilty verdicts at the end.”

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