FORT BRAGG, N.C. —
In pleading guilty to possessing a hoard of porn on his laptop in Afghanistan, a violation of orders for soldiers in the socially conservative Muslim country, Sinclair's defense hopes to limit the ability of prosecutors to use those graphic images to shock the jury.
Prosecutors also have evidence Sinclair asked two female officers to send nude photos of themselves to him. By conceding his quilt, the defense lessens the relevance of the messages they exchanged. The primary accuser is the only one alleging assault.
"The government now has a big problem," Scheff said in an email before the plea. "It took pathetically weak assault charges and put a fancy wrapper around them. We just tore the wrapper off. The prosecution team no longer gets to distract us with salacious details about acts that aren't even criminal in the civilian world. All they're left with is a crime that never happened, a witness who committed perjury, and a pile of text messages and journal entries that disprove their claim."
The defense will present evidence that the female captain lied under oath during a pretrial hearing in January about her handling of old iPhone containing messages between her and the general. Lawyers for Sinclair have painted the woman as a scorned lover who only reported the sexual assault allegations after the general refused to leave his wife.
The Associated Press generally does not identify those who say they were sexually assaulted.
The captain testified that on Dec. 9, shortly after what she described as a contentious meeting with prosecutors, she rediscovered an old iPhone stored in a box at her home that still contained saved text messages and voicemails from the general. After charging the phone, she testified she synced it with her computer to save photos before contacting her attorney.