Sinclair’s PR Site

| January 24, 2013 | 26 Comments

As regular TAH readers know, I’ve been periodically writing about the case of BG Jeffery Sinclair, US Army, who is currently facing courts-martial for a number of very serious charges.  Jonn vectored me to a couple of links he got from another TAH reader, AndyFMF.  The links are from a website that someone – my guess would be Sinclair’s legal team – has come up with a website touting Sinclair’s innocence.

I took a look at the website.  I’ll hit the high points and give my impressions below.  Disclaimer:  I’m not a lawyer – just an educated layman with some knowledge of and interest in the law.  Comments/corrections from qualified lawyers, particularly from our military JAG readers, are solicited and welcome.

  1. The site can be found here.
  2. The site appears to be essentially a PR exercise aimed at generating sympathy for Sinclair.  Predictably, it attacks Sinclair’s accuser, his prosecutor, and the evidence against him.  It also touts Sinclair’s history and bio.
  3. It does not divulge the name of Sinclair’s accuser.
  4. It points out some legitimate weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.  Some of the evidence for some of the charges indeed appears weak.  Other evidence presented at Sinclair’s Article 32 hearing resulted in some of the original accusations being dropped.
  5. However, IMO in at least one other area the prosecution team may have really stepped on its collective schvantz.  Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new prosecution team take over the case prior to trial.
  6. That said, some of the “shortcomings” the site points out are, bluntly, BS.  In particular, they make much of the fact that Sinclair “passed a polygraph” and that his accuser has not taken one.  JAGs out there correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that polygraph results are not admissible in courts-martial proceedings as evidence.  There are numerous known instances of a liar “beating” a polygraph.
  7. The site also makes much of the fact that multiple people had access to Sinclair’s computer, where evidence was found that pornographic images had been accessed – in some cases, when Sinclair was known to be absent.  While that is indeed true, charges relating to specific instances where porn was accessed during a time Sinclair was shown to have been absent apparently were later dropped.  And I’d like to think that the Army actually had the sense to have a good computer forensic tech (the Army indeed has some very good ones) look at the machine in question prior to the Article 32 hearing.
  8. The site admits that Sinclair had a consensual extramarital affair with a subordinate as well as use “bad judgment” in exchanging “inappropriate” text messages (presumably racy ones) with four other women – who were apparently also Sinclair’s subordinates.  That admission alone is enough to end Sinclair’s career.
  9. While the “forcible sodomy” charge against Sinclair may sound weak as his PR site presents it, that charge is likely legally much stronger than Sinclair’s site would lead one to believe.  Past instances of Army Drill Sergeants engaging in consensual sex with trainees have been successfully prosecuted as rape.  This was apparently due to the extreme difference in rank under the theory that the extreme difference in rank and position effectively constituted coercion.  I’m guessing a BG hitting on a junior officer (e.g., a LT or CPT) might well be considered just as coercive a situation as a Drill Sergeant hitting on a trainee.

Bottom line:  the site strikes me as primarily a blatant and rather transparent PR effort, designed to garner sympathy for Sinclair among members of the public.  Even if Sinclair is innocent, I personally find such a public PR effort distasteful and beneath what I’d expect from a military GO.  YMMV regarding both the site and how distasteful you find it.

Sinclair at this point has to know his career is over.  He’s now simply fighting to stay out of jail and keep his pension.  I’d guess he probably doesn’t much care about appearances and decorum.

TSO Adds: Um, this is interesting reading…. (Click twice so you can read it.)

Um

Category: Crime, Legal, Military issues

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  1. Devtun says:

    BG Hotpants also knows no matter how things turn out, he can kiss that star good bye. I think he’s only worn it for a year and change.

  2. Hondo says:

    Devtun: most likely. But I doubt the affair and/or other misconduct goes back far enough to kill his retirement as a COL if he’s acquitted on the more serious charges and/or otherwise doesn’t get dismissed. I could be wrong, though.

  3. AW1 Tim says:

    There are always more lenient sentences and “wink wink” results for GoFo’s. It’s been that way since the first Neandertal clan organized a hunting party.

    Sinclair will be given a slap on the wrist, lose his star, but be allowed to retire as an O-6 with full pension. Bank on it.

    And the rest of the Junior Officers and all the enlisted will take note and remember.

  4. RunPatRun says:

    They’re definitely trying to drum up support. Sinclair’s wife wrote a piece for the WAPO last Fall. Can’t believe she’s not kicking him to the curb, but I guess $$$ are important.

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-11-15/opinions/35505150_1_service-members-military-wives-infidelity

  5. Devtun says:

    @3

    Wouldn’t be so sure these days. The Army this past summer dismissed a BG with loss of all pay and benefits…no jail however. A deal was cut that spared him the humiliation of the Leavenworth DB.

  6. O-4E says:

    Note to self…never put myself in a situation where I have to create a website proclaiming my own innocence

  7. Hondo says:

    O-4E: bingo, amigo. If you’re setting up a website to proclaim your innocence, you’ve already screwed the pooch – whether or not there was any sex involved.

  8. TSO says:

    @7, and looks like there was some serious bow chicka bow bow going on. She sounds like a keeper though with the “suck his dick” thing x3.

  9. streetsweeper says:

    It is what it is, until it is over. At least on the front end of the Art32 hearing because you, me nor anybody else here will be allowed access to affidavits, witness statements or interview the complainant. The Generals wife (that could be the title of a good book) has hit the media trail stating her support for him. What you have with that website is a defense team using the court of public opinion verse’s the US Army’s Article 32 hearing and trail by his fellow officers.

    As to why the Complainant spoke up and charges have been brought against him? I will speculate a spurned potential lover thought she was going to live the life of “Reilly” so to speak and was ga-ga with their “intimate” pillow talk. Now we may speculate her reason to be pissed off when she was told by him, that her being a permanent part of his life was never his intention.

    Or simply put the reasons Complainant has (or felt she had) are revenge, greed, profit and once harsh reality sets in, she had the motive. It’s all there but just not as crystal clear as one might think. As for the good General, he’ll suffer whatever consequences AR-32 lays out, take a spanking and reduction in rank for being stupid enough to allow himself to be caught with peter in hand in the first place.

    Then maybe the Army would give him a pass on the porn on his government owned computer. In the end Hondo, it is all about that word, justice. Spurned lover, the wife and government all are served justice.

  10. Hondo says:

    TSO: my comment 7 was general in nature and did not refer to Sinclair’s case. If you’re in a position where you have to protest your innocence publicly, you’ve usually done something really stupid that put you in that position.

    In Sinclair’s case, that stupidity was a 2-year extramarital affair. (What, did he think no one would notice in 2 years – and in a combat zone to boot?) In other cases, different misconduct was the cause (“I am not a crook.”) But in most such cases, the individual involved did something monumentally dumb that put him or her in that position.

  11. TSO says:

    @10, this strikes me less as a means of improving his appearance as decreasing that of his opponent. Much like the last stages of a political race where you just malign the hell out of your opponent, this appears less intended to make himself look better, and more focused on pointing out (rightly) that the Army here was seriously overreaching, engaged in some shitty behavior (the emails part has me furious) and in just doing a piss poor job.

    They over shot their mark on this one, and took what was an obvious win into a muddled tie no matter how it comes out.

    Charge him with what you can get him on, and what he did, not bullshit about porn and unopened bottles of scotch. I don’t know a single Joe in A-Stan that didn’t have porn.

  12. Hondo says:

    TSO: fully agree about the emails; that was absolutely stupid and is precisely why I think we just might see a new prosecution team take over before trial.

    Maligning the opposition is one technique often used to improve someone’s relative appearance. It works in two ways. First, it makes Sinclair look good by comparison (“Just look at those despicable bastards that are coming after me!”). Second, it gains him sympathy with the uninformed.

    Agreed that the alcohol charge is petty. But it’s technically a good one; GO1 bans both possession and consumption. And you do have to wonder why Sinclair retained it vice dumping it out or turning it in to his CG or the MPs, or giving it to someone at the Embassy or at ISAF (both were authorized to drink while I was there in 2007). The porn charge might similarly be petty but may be similarly technically sound also. And I personally don’t find it a stretch to think that someone who’s (allegedly) banging a subordinate and flirting shamelessly with 4 other women via text messages might be cruising porn sites, too.

    For what it’s worth: at least where I was in ‘Stan people kept any real porn they might have had pretty well hidden, at least from me. I don’t personally remember seeing any. The bawdiest thing you might see was something along the lines of the SI Swimsuit issue. I’m sure “hardcore” stuff existed, but people weren’t particularly eager to advertise the fact that they had it. Not saying that’s good or bad, just offering my experiences.

  13. AndyFMF says:

    I thought that making her urinate in a trash can after sex IOT eliminate any proof of the encounter was a special touch.

  14. Twist says:

    @11, I hear ya. Soldiers in Iraq had enough porn to make Larry Flynt blush.

  15. streetsweeper says:

    I am in no way expressing support for either the complainant or the accused nor those of the prosecutor and Army. But, I do find it curious and odd that the General’s wife has hit the publicity trail. But that’s all. So whatever CID learned during their investigation might be another reason why the General’s wife went public. Could be there is far more to it than what we’re seeing this medium. Or, she is doing it because, it is the thing to do these days with the current administration in place. As soon as one of the three of them turns up on Oprah Winfrey’s show, that is most likely when you’ll find out more. Until then, I’m inclined to stick to my guns and view all this publicity as a means of helping this current administration end the war. As we know or should know from the past, painting troops no matter who in a bad light certainly has the ability of turning the tide of public opinion and support. Throw that one out and see how many bites you get.

  16. Thunderb says:

    I was a JAG in the AF. As an officer he has the right to apply for retirement in lieu of Court Martial. The Sec of the Army will accept it, and he will be reduced in rank. Polygraphs are NOT admissable in trial and are only an investigative tool. A jury is not even supposed to know that anyone has taken a poly or the results. A smarmy move by the defense team and the General. This General would have been prosecuted and thrown out (retired) for this in any administration. After having read the statemnt, the forcible sodomy charge is pretty weak. That will fall away

  17. TSO says:

    Hondo, let me ask your position on something I encountered recently in Senegal that tangentially is related.

    In June, the Marines went to Senegal, trained with the Commandos there, and then had a graduation ceremony. At the ceremony one of the commandos (COFUMACO) gave one of the marines a puca (sp?) shell neclace as a gift.

    When the Marines came back in September, that Marine when he was training with that Cofumaco was wearing the necklace. He was upbraided by the colonel present and took it off. Later, when the colonel left, he put it back on.

    Now, was he in violation of the uniform policy? Clearly, not even he denied it. However, in my opinion, he was right to do so. The gift was meant to bring the soldiers from each country together, to show a bind. To not wear it would be to somewhat insult the other. Not like regifting a Christmas gift from a relative, who later wonders why their crystal bowl is not around.

    I think the Marine was doing the right thing. I believe he was acting in an unofficial capacity as a sort of foreign service officer, and that should take precedence on a de minimis offense like wearing this necklace. Now, if it had been human sacrifice, clearly different.

    I view the alcohol in the same way. I know my LT in Bosnia had some Schlibovitz (Sp?) with some Serbian police one day. Did he violate policy? Clearly. Was doing so also in the right interests of US Foreign Policy? I think it was.

    I just don’t think a gift like this from a foreign officer, not imbibed, should be used against the man. It seems petty to me.

  18. Thunderb says:

    The CID agent got a search warrent to search the general’s e-mails. In those e-mails were communications to his wife and his attorney about the case. Those are privileged communications and the agent should not have reviewed, technically. The agent says the emails were marked *confidential*, but not “attorney-client”. Normally, an attorney will mark documents they send as “attorney-client”. The CID agent in charge of the case sought guidence and was told to have another agent, not assigned to the case, copy those files. She didn’t, there was no other agent assigned there. Statements made by the General to his counsel and his wife will most likely be excluded, and any charges that are solely reliant on his admissions will be dropped

  19. streetsweeper says:

    And the woman that got the ball rolling will most likely fade away. She’ll probably end up in another affair and be dumped again. OR move to Los Angeles, garner herself a starring role in a Hollywood B movie pertaining to sexual fantasies of women urinating in garbage cans. Lord only knows, she probably wouldn’t be employable at one of Harry Reid’s “ranches”.

  20. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    If ever I am asked to take a polygraph by police, I will decline. I would take one to obtain or retain employment if required, but never, ever would I take one otherwise. Oh, I know that the little gadgets and those who administer them are said to have improved over the years but that’s not good enough for me. It’s witchcraft in a box, as far as I am concerned and I’ll have none of it, whether I be innocent as the driven snow or guity as sin.

  21. Hondo says:

    Thunderdb: prior to the trial of the Army Drill Sergeants back in the late 1990s, I’d have agreed with you. However, as I recall a couple of those folks were convicted of rape for a consensual relationship. So I’m not sure Sinclair will escape that one.

    You could well be right, but I don’t think it’s a “slam dunk” either way.

  22. Hondo says:

    TSO: in such situations, the US officer involved has to use their judgement and hope for the best – as well as hope his boss sees things the same way. In each case, you’re literally playing “bet yer bars/leaves/stars”.

    Sinclair accepting the bottle was IMO probably the correct thing to do, even if it technically violated GO1, if it was received from a foreign official as claimed. You don’t want a US GO in such a situation to cause ill will or an international incident.

    What I question is the fact that Sinclair apparently retained it and allegedly still had it much later in a location where it was considered contraband. If nothing else, IMO that sends entirely the wrong message as well as raises some pointed questions – namely, “Why?”. Seems to me a quick call to his SJA asking “OK – I accepted this to avoid an international incident; what the hell do I do with it now?” was in order. Or maybe to his CG. Neither seems to have happened.

    I put this in the same category as finding a brick of marijuana or cocaine in your driveway. If you hang on to it vice call the cops right away and turn it in, you’ve really got some ‘splainin’ to do if/when anyone finds out you’ve had it for a month.

  23. PigmyPuncher says:

    Just read the text messages. I know it’s just one side, but she comes of as bat $hit crazy. I really don’t feel bad for him. He knew better…

    Two old saying come to mind – Don’t $hit in your own back yard, and don’t stick your _ _ _ _ in the crazy….

  24. RetCDR says:

    This guy needs to read the UCMJ. Adultery is punishable under the UCMJ. I sat on a Navy Court Martial in which we threw a 19 year member in jail for a year and gave her a dishonorable discharge. No retirement for that one. This guy desirves the same. Skip the trial, he’s admitted to it. Just because you admit to it does not mean you are innocent. Quite the opposite, it means you just pleaded guilty.

  25. PJ says:

    Sinclair’s delusional wife needs to keep her day job. There’s no way this freak will survive the load he’s accused of. Sounds like he stepped on the wrong tails.

  26. Bob Abbott says:

    BG Sinclair demeans the service of thousands of other active duty US military. As a BG his rank and status puts an immediate coercive element to every action he takes. So far, he has pled to sexual relations with an LT, CAPT and MAJ. While this might be satisfying some officer rank sexual bingo game he was playing it shows a complete disregard to the Code of Military Justice and to he role as an officer and general. Get rid of the bad seed ASAP.

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