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Military judge denies 2 motions in Naval Academy sex-assault case

The criminal case against a Naval Academy midshipman accused of sexually assaulting a classmate is expected to move forward to a March 14 court-martial after a military judge denied two motions this week related to the case.

Midshipman Joshua Tate is charged with aggravated sexual assault and making a false statement, in a high-profile case that stems from a 2012 off-campus party.

The judge, Marine Col. Daniel Daugherty, denied two motions this week from Tate's lawyers, one seeking to bar some of Tate's statements from being used in court and another seeking to dismiss the case on the grounds that he has been selectively prosecuted.

Other motions to dismiss the case haven't been ruled on, but Jason Ehrenberg, Tate's lead attorney, said he expects the case to move forward, based on the judge's decisions thus far.

"We're going to assume we have to go into court on March 14 and litigate this," said Ehrenberg, who has also alleged that the Naval Academy superintendent, Vice Adm. Michael Miller, was pressured politically to pursue the case.

A female midshipman has testified she drank excessively before and during a party at an off-campus house in April 2012. She has said she only has spotty memories of the night but believes she may have been assaulted, in part based on rumors and social media postings after the party.

The Baltimore Sun does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

Three then-football players initially were accused. After a preliminary hearing last year, charges were not filed against one of the men, who is now an ensign in the Navy. Charges were dropped against another midshipman after the prosecution's case weakened. He is in the process of withdrawing from the academy and has been granted immunity to be a witness in Tate's case.

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