The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

March 5, 2014

Army sex trial begins as prosecutor pushed aside

(Continued)

"The government undertook a vicious character assault against someone they previously called their 'rock star' sex crimes prosecutor, because he was the only Army leader with the integrity to stand up to politics," said Richard Scheff, the lead defense lawyer. "People should be rewarded for honesty, not punished for it."

The case against Sinclair, believed to be the most senior member of the U.S. military ever to face trial for sexual assault, comes as the Pentagon grapples with a troubling string of revelations involving rape and sexual misconduct within the ranks. Influential members of Congress are also pushing to remove decisions about the prosecution of sex crimes from the military chain of command.

Sinclair, the former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne, has pleaded not guilty to eight criminal charges including forcible sodomy, indecent acts, violating orders and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. He faces life in prison if convicted of the sexual assault charges.

Lawyers for the married father of two have say he carried on a three-year extramarital affair with a female captain under his command during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The admission of an affair will almost certainly end his Army career.

In pretrial hearings, prosecutors have painted Sinclair as a sexual predator who abused his position and threatened to kill the accuser and her family if she told anyone of their relationship.

The Associated Press does not publicly identify the alleged victims of sexual assaults.

Helixon, who was described as dealing with "personal issues," wasn't called to testify Tuesday.

But among those called to the stand was Brig. Gen. Paul Wilson, a high-ranking military lawyer stationed at the Pentagon.

Wilson said another general sent him on the morning of Feb. 8 to check on Helixon, who was then staying in a room at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington. He said he arrived to find Helixon appearing drunk and suicidal.

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