Hearing to reveal details of charges against Sinclair
By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. | Published: November 3, 2012
Details about the allegations against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Allen Sinclair are expected to be revealed Monday during a hearing on Fort Bragg.
Sinclair, 50, is the one-star general facing charges that include forcible sodomy and fraud following his relief from duty in Afghanistan this spring.
The Article 32 hearing, which is expected to last at least two days, is similar to a civilian grand jury. Prosecutors will present evidence against Sinclair, and his lawyers will be able to cross-examine witnesses against him. Information may be discussed in the hearing that would not otherwise be allowed to come out at a trial.
A hearing officer will collect the findings and make a suggestion on whether to proceed with the case to the convening authority -- in this case, the 18th Airborne Corps commander, Lt. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn.
Sinclair was charged in September, four months after being relieved from duty in southern Afghanistan, where he served as deputy commanding general for support for the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command-South in Kandahar.
His removal attracted national attention, which intensified following the announcement of the charges against him.
Officials have been tight-lipped about the nature of the accusations, but the list of charges include forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct, attempted violation of an order, wrongfully engaging in inappropriate relationships, misuse of a government travel charge card, possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed, maltreatment of subordinates and fraud.
If the case against Sinclair proceeds and the charges remain in their current form, the general could be dismissed from the Army and sentenced to life in prison, under the toughest punishment. There is no minimum punishment or sentencing guidelines in the military court system, meaning Sinclair could be convicted but not punished.
Experts familiar with the military justice system said that it is unlikely Sinclair will receive considerable prison time if convicted.
Fort Bragg officials said that Sinclair's lawyers have declined to be identified. He was never arrested or confined.
Sinclair is currently serving as a special assistant to Allyn.