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U.S. Army General Awaits Fate After Admitting To Mistreating Female Officer


FORT BRAGG, N.C., March 19 (Reuters) - A military judge could decide the punishment on Wednesday for a U.S. Army general who pleaded guilty to mistreating a junior female officer during one of several improper relationships but was cleared in a plea deal of sexual assault charges.

Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair's admissions of wrongdoing could bring jail time, though his agreement with the government put an undisclosed cap on penalties in a case that focused attention on how the U.S. military handles sexual misconduct in its ranks.

Male and female soldiers called as defense witnesses during Sinclair's sentencing hearing at Fort BraggNorth Carolina, described the 27-year Army veteran as an inspirational, fearless leader whom they admired despite his acknowledgment of an adulterous affair with a female captain.

"He was easily the best brigade commander I worked for, selfless, more concerned about what his troops are doing than what his bosses think," said Colonel Kenneth Kelley, who served with Sinclair in Germany and Iraq and traveled from Japan to testify on his behalf.

Sinclair, 51, grew emotional and blew his nose as a longtime family friend who was a fellow Army Ranger spoke of the general's remorse.