Army captain testifies US general sexually assaulted her twice and threatened to kill her

The Associated Press

Brig. Gen. Paul Wilson leaves the courthouse after testifying in pretrial motions in the case of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at Fort Bragg, N.C. Less than a month before Sinclair's trial on sexual assault charges, the lead prosecutor broke down in tears Tuesday as he told a superior he believed the primary accuser in the case had lied under oath. (AP Photo/The Fayetteville Observer, James Robinson)

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Their relationship began in Iraq in 2009. He was her direct commander, a paratrooper revered for bravery under fire. She was a young intelligence officer and Arabic linguist, assigned to accompany him on trips to meet Iraqi leaders.

She said that after months of conversation and flirtation, she went to his quarters late one night and they watched a television show. He asked her to put down her hair, which she typically wore in a bun while in uniform. She complied, and he began stroking her hair. They kissed that night, and the relationship soon evolved into frequent sexual liaisons.

"It was wrong," she testified. "I knew it was wrong."

She testified that he often spoke of his wife and children and that he described his spouse as an open-minded woman who understood he needed to have sex while overseas. She said she assumed Sinclair had told his wife about her.

Once, after sex, the captain testified, the general told her that she reminded him of his wife, and she replied that she looked forward to meeting her. The captain said Sinclair sharply told her that his wife could never know about their affair.

"He told me that if I ever told her or anyone else about he and I, he would kill me and then he would kill my family," the witness said, sobbing. "And he would do it in a way no one would ever know."

Still, the woman admitted, she continued to have sex with him.

On Thursday, Sinclair pleaded guilty to adultery and other charges that could send him to prison for up to 15 years. He has said the woman made sexual advances that he initially rebuffed. The judge asked Sinclair how he knew the woman wanted to have sex with him.

"Probably when she took her top off, sir," the general said.

His lawyers are hoping the plea will limit some of the salacious evidence and reduce the case to his word against hers.

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