State News

Defense rests in Fort Bragg general's sex case hearing

Posted November 8, 2012 1:05 p.m. EST
Updated November 8, 2012 1:23 p.m. EST

— Defense attorneys for a Fort Bragg general rested their case Thursday in a military hearing to determine whether the Army officer will be tried on accusations of sex crimes involving five women.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair faces 26 counts of sex-related charges, including sodomy and wrongful sexual contact and adultery, which is a crime in the military.

Closing arguments were expected to begin at 5 p.m. Thursday. Military officials say it could be at least a month before there is a decision about whether the case will go to a military trial.

A female captain testified Tuesday that she had a three-year affair with the married Sinclair, her direct superior. The woman said that while she was on a combat tour in Afghanistan, the general threatened to kill her and her family if she told about the affair and physically forced her to perform oral sex.

Testifying for the defense Thursday, Chief Warrant Officer Jose Serbia said that the captain was erratic when she confided to him about the affair and the alleged threat, but she denied that Sinclair ever raped or humiliated her.

When later making a formal report, the captain said Sinclair had twice physically forced her to perform oral sex.

Serbia also testified that he thought the captain had a good character and was a good military officer. That contradicted what other defense witnesses have said.

Sinclair faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charges.