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Sinclair accuser ordered to appear at Fort Bragg hearing

The Army captain who accuses Brig. Gen. Jeff Sinclair of sexually assaulting her during their adulterous affair has been ordered to appear in court today and may testify.

The contents of at least one of her smartphones is expected to dominate the conversation during a pretrial hearing scheduled for today and Wednesday at Fort Bragg.

The accuser produced the iPhone last month, according to a court order issued by the judge, Col. James Pohl. It may have voicemails and text messages stored on it that are pertinent to the case, his order says.

In prior proceedings, text messages between Sinclair and his accuser were entered into evidence.

The accuser's production of the smartphone forced Sinclair's court-martial to be postponed until March 4 to give the defense team time to review and evaluate its data. The trial had been scheduled to start today.

Sinclair, who is married and has two children, is being court-martialed on charges of sexual assault, adultery, inappropriate relationship with other women and other alleged violations of military law.

His former mistress served with Sinclair during an Iraq deployment, where the affair began in 2009, and was one of his aides during an Afghanistan deployment in 2012, when she reported the affair and assault allegations.

Adultery is a crime in the military.

Despite the consensual nature of their affair, the captain alleges there were occasions in which Sinclair forced her to give him oral sex.

Sinclair, through his lawyers, denies the assault allegations. His lawyers have said the accuser made them up to mitigate any punishment she might receive for adultery.

According to Pohl's order, the captain produced the iPhone in December. She said she had put it in the box with four other phones in 2011 in her home at Fort Bragg before she deployed to Afghanistan.

After she found it again, the captain charged it and connected it to a computer, the court order says. Her actions may have altered or deleted evidence stored on the phone, the order says.

Pohl ordered the captain to come to court and bring the iPhone, the other four cellphones and the computer that she connected to the iPhone.

The smartphone contents and any other outstanding matters are to be discussed at the hearing.

woolvertonp@fayobserver.com

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