Judge weighs new evidence in Army sex assault case

MICHAEL BIESECKER Associated Press Published:

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The judge in the case against an Army general believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to be tried on sex assault charges is considering new evidence that a top lawyer at the Pentagon may have unlawfully interfered in a decision on whether to accept a plea agreement that was ultimately rejected.

Attorneys for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair presented the evidence, and Judge Col. James Pohl dismissed the jury for the day Monday morning. Pohl then retired to his chambers, where he will weigh the email chain between the prosecution team at Fort Bragg and a top Pentagon lawyer.

It is unlawful in the military justice system for senior commanders to interfere in prosecutorial decisions.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Defense lawyers for an Army general facing sexual assault charges say they plan to press his primary accuser on inconsistencies in her story.

Attorneys for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair will get their chance Monday to cross-examine the female captain at the center of the closely-watched case.

The woman testified Friday that toward the end of their three-year affair Sinclair twice ended arguments by unbuttoning his pants and forcing her head into his lap as she cried.

The defense says they'll show the woman is lying by presenting a trove of emails and text messages she exchanged with the general, many of them sexually explicit.

Sinclair is believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military officer ever tried for sexual assault. He faces life in prison if found guilty.