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U.S. general charged with forced sex launches offensive

By Colleen Jenkins

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - A U.S. Army general facing allegations of improper conduct toward female subordinates took on his accusers on Tuesday, asking a military judge to remove the prosecutors in his case and launching a website to tell his version of what happened.

Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair was sent home from his post as a deputy commanding general in Afghanistan last year and faces a court-martial after being accused of inappropriate behavior involving four female subordinates and a civilian.

Much of the case revolves around an unmarried Army captain who said she and Sinclair had a three-year affair, during which she said the married 27-year Army veteran twice made her perform oral sex against her wishes.

Military prosecutors said Sinclair asked other women to send him nude photos.

The charges against Sinclair include forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct and possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed.

At his arraignment at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on Tuesday, Sinclair deferred entering a plea until a judge rules on a series of motions submitted by the defense, said base spokesman Ben Abel.

Chief among them was a request to have the four prosecutors disqualified from the case, Abel said. The defense argues the Army prosecutors violated Sinclair's right to attorney-client privilege by improperly accessing confidential emails between Sinclair, his attorneys, his wife and his pastor.

The new defense website launched on Tuesday signaled Sinclair's intent to aggressively fight the charges that threaten his career, which has included combat deployments in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

On the site, www.sinclairinnocence.com, Sinclair reiterates his prior admissions that he made mistakes by having a consensual affair with one woman and exchanging inappropriate texts and emails with four others.

But he said he never forced his mistress to perform oral sex. He sought to discredit the charges against him by including links to polygraph test results, court testimony and excerpts from his main accuser's text messages and journals.

"A fair and impartial reading of the evidence will cause the case against Sinclair to unravel," the site said.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by CYnthia Johnston and Christopher Wilson)

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