Denied beaten

As his court-martial got underway, an Army general accused of sexual assault pleaded guilty to three lesser charges Thursday, nu skin hoping his admission will strengthen his case by limiting some of the salacious evidence against him.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair is accused of forcing a female captain to twice perform oral sex and threatening to kill her family if she told anyone about their three-year affair.

Sinclair, 51, still faces five charges, including sexual assault, in his trial before a jury of five generals. The former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on the most serious charges. Opening statements were expected Friday.

Related: Sex crimes trial of Army general highlights U.S. military justice

The case against Sinclair, believed to be the most senior member of the U.S. military ever to face trial on sexual assault charges, comes as the Pentagon grapples with revelations of rampant rape and sexual misconduct within the ranks. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Thursday on legislation that would strip senior military commanders of their authority to prosecute rapes and other serious offenses, a measure firmly opposed by the Pentagon.

The general pleaded guilty to having improper relationships with two other female Army officers and to committing adultery with the primary accuser, his mistress, which is a crime in the military. He also admitted to violating orders by possessing pornography and to conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman g-suite cardinal.

Sinclair's lawyer Richard Scheff said before the plea that his client was taking responsibility for his actions, but also strengthening his legal position. By admitting guilt on the three charges for which there is the strongest evidence, the married father of two hoped to narrow the focus of the trial to charges that rely heavily on the testimony and credibility of his former mistress.

In pleading guilty to possessing a hoard of porn on his laptop in Afghanistan, a violation of orders for soldiers in the socially conservative Muslim country, Sinclair's defense hopes to limit the ability of prosecutors to use those graphic images to shock the jury.

Prosecutors also have evidence Sinclair asked two female officers to send nude photos of themselves to him. By conceding his quilt, the defense lessens the relevance of the messages they exchanged. The primary accuser is the only one alleging assault.

"The government now has a big problem," Scheff said in an email before the plea. "It took pathetically weak assault charges and put a fancy wrapper around them. We just tore the wrapper off. The prosecution team no longer gets to distract us with salacious details about acts that aren't even criminal in the civilian world. All they're left with is a crime that never happened, a witness who committed perjury, g-suite cardinal manchester and a pile of text messages and journal entries that disprove their claim."

The defense will present evidence that the female captain lied under oath during a pretrial hearing in January about her handling of old iPhone containing messages between her and the general. Lawyers for Sinclair have painted the woman as a scorned lover who only reported the sexual assault allegations after the general refused to leave his wife.

The Associated Press generally does not identify those who say they were sexually assaulted.

The captain testified that on Dec. 9, shortly after what she described as a contentious meeting with prosecutors, she rediscovered an old iPhone stored in a box at her home that still contained saved text messages and voicemails from the general. After charging the phone, she testified she synced it with her computer to save photos before contacting her attorney.

However, a defense expert's examination suggested the captain powered up the device more than two weeks before the meeting with prosecutors. Three additional experts verified the finding.

During a pretrial hearing this week, a top Pentagon lawyer testified that the lead prosecutor assigned to the case for nearly two years, Lt. Col. William Helixon, had urged that the most serious charges against Sinclair be dropped after he became convinced the captain had lied to him about the cellphone. Helixon was overruled by his superiors and then removed from the case last month, after suffering what was described as a profound moral crisis that led to his being taken to a military hospital for a mental health evaluation.

The case now heads to trial with a new lead prosecutor, Lt. Col. Robert Stelle, who said in court this week he doesn't care what his predecessor thought about the weakness of the evidence.

It is highly unusual for an officer of flag rank to face criminal prosecution, with only a handful of cases in recent decades. Under military law, an officer can only be judged at trial by those of superior rank.

More extensive than expected

SUPERVALU HAS SAID today that the security breach of its system, which potentially affected tens of thousands of customers, is “more extensive” than first anticipated tantric massage hong kong.

The issue, which means financial details may have been compromised, only affects customers who availed of the “Getawaybreaks” scheme operated by Clare-based company Loyalty Build.

In a statement this evening, Supervalu said Loyalty Build has confirmed that there is a “high risk that an unauthorised third party accessed the details of payment cards used to pay for Getaway Breaks between January 2011 and February 2012″. The Data Protection Commission has been informed of the details of the breach cardinal manchester.

62,500 customers who made bookings during this period have been advised to contact their bank or financial institution as soon as possible and to immediately check the transactions on their payment cards for any suspicious activity.

Getaway Breaks customers have also been advised to treat any unsolicited communication they receive relating to this issue claiming to represent Supervalu Getaway Breaks or Loyalty Build with extreme caution.

Supervalu said it is continuing to work with Loyalty Build to “resolve this issue as quickly as possible”. The company has also engaged its own IT security consultants to investigate the Loyalty Build system.

The company stressed today that this does not impact Supervalu’s other websites or any other transactions made by payment card in store or online nu skin.

The mayor of New York, was named the big obstacle

Bill de Blasio faces the challenge of delivering on campaign promises such as providing universal pre-K education and expanding low-income housing.

NEW YORK — New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio named his transition team and met with outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday, a day after he won America's biggest city back for Democrats with a 49-point victory over his Republican rival g-suite cardinal manchester.

Following a campaign in which he promised to address economic inequality and transform police practices, de Blasio promised to create a diverse administration to match New York's ethnic and gender demographics.

"Today is now the first day of an eight-week sprint to preparing our new administration," de Blasio told a news conference in Manhattan, following what he called a productive one-hour meeting with Bloomberg at City Hall.

He will take office January 1 after defeating Republican Joe Lhota by 73 percent to 24 percent. However, voter turnout was a record low 24 percent, and both de Blasio and political analysts acknowledged he faces substantial obstacles to enacting his sweeping policy objectives.

De Blasio appointed Jennifer Jones Austin and Carl Weisbrod, two long-time civil servants, to lead his transition team as he begins the process of selecting a new police commissioner and schools chancellor and an array of other appointments.

He faces the challenge of delivering on campaign promises such as providing universal pre-kindergarten education, revamping police "stop-and-frisk" tactics that a judge has ruled unconstitutional, and expanding low-income housing.

Criticized by conservatives as a tax-and-spend liberal who would be soft on crime, de Blasio said his most important task would be public safety while maintaining economic growth to fund his agenda.

"We have no illusions about the task that lies ahead g-suite in oldham," de Blasio said in his victory speech. "The challenges we face have been decades in the making, and the problems we set out to address will not be solved overnight."

Political analysts on Wednesday agreed voters would give de Blasio a grace period but will soon start asking if the city is more affordable and if a historic reduction in violent crime is threatened.


A Quinnipiac Poll released a week ago found just 42 percent of voters thought de Blasio would be able to keep his campaign promises, and 43 percent thought he would fail to.

"Income inequality? Jobs? It's a split between the doubters and the believers," said Quinnipiac director Maurice Carroll.

De Blasio campaigned on promises to address the "two New Yorks" - one for the rich and another for the poor - and proposed raising taxes on the city's highest earners to pay for the expansion pre-kindergarten education.

His obstacles are significant. Any tax increase would require the consent of state lawmakers, and 2014 is an election year. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who has declined to say where he stands on the issue, is up for re-election in 2014.

"In re-election years, you don't raise taxes," said Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime Democratic strategist, adding that, taxes aside, the relationship between the New York City's mayor and the New York's governor has always been difficult.

Once taking office, de Blasio will have two months to prepare his first budget plan.

He also faces a demand for retroactive pay increases from public sector unions that the current administration estimates could cost the city $4 billion to $8 billion.

Then there is the issue of stop-and-frisk, a Bloomberg-era police tactic that de Blasio and fellow critics say had led to racial profiling of young black and Latino men.

The issue helped propel de Blasio to victory in the Democratic primary, though its defenders say the tactic is critical to the city's anti-crime efforts.

The mayor-elect has indicated he will abandon the city's appeal of a federal judge's ruling that the tactic is a form of "indirect racial profiling g-suite cardinal."

Legal experts have said they expect the new administration will seek to settle the class-action lawsuit by accepting broad reforms to the department's practices.

In the city's financial center of Wall Street on Wednesday morning, it was clear de Blasio still had to win over some New Yorkers.

"He's got a tough act to follow and I predict he'll have a rocky first year," said Matthew Kearney, 48, who heads an ad agency. "I like the fact that the previous mayor was independent and that he was a businessman. De Blasio is a politician."

Texas's murder

Five people have been found dead in a small town near Dallas in four separate incidents. A 36-year-old man has been arrested as a suspect in each murder.

TERRELL, Texas — A man accused of killing his mother, g-suite cardinal manchester aunt and three other people before police arrested him early Tuesday following a high-speed chase has a long criminal history that includes a conviction for assaulting a family member.

Court records don't indicate which family member Charles Everett Brownlow Jr. was convicted of assaulting in 2011. But they show that two years earlier, he was sentenced to three years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, and that he was paroled after seven months.

Police haven't disclosed the preliminary charges against Brownlow, but they said he is suspected in all five killings Monday night in Terrell, a rural community about 30 miles east of Dallas. Investigators spent the night going from one grisly crime scene to the next until an officer spotted the suspect running from a local convenience store to his car and sped after him.

This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Charles Brownlow Jr. Brownlow was arrested early Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, as a suspect in a case where five people were killed in a string of slayings across Terrell, Texas.AP Photo: Texas Department of Public Safety
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety shows Charles Brownlow Jr.
"We're all in a state of shock," police Chief Jody Law said at a news conference hours after Brownlow's arrest. "You have a tendency to think g-suite in oldham, 'How can that happen here?' This is a country community, a rural community, people are real close. This is going to be, it's going to have a really big impact on us."

Brownlow's brother, Terrence Walker, told The Associated Press that the 36-year-old Brownlow struggled with drug addiction and lived with their mother, Mary Brownlow. His brother's criminal record, which dates back to 1995, also includes convictions for drug possession and burglary.

Walker said his brother "always wanted to take something that wasn't his," and that their mother put up with it.

"I was hoping my mom would open her eyes and realize that she needed to let him grow up, put him out," said Walker, who said an aunt was among the other victims. Walker said his own family spent the night at a hotel instead of their home in Forney, and that he was armed with a pistol in case his brother came after him.

Lay didn't release the victims' names or discuss a possible motive for the attacks, which began around 5 p.m. Monday when a woman was gunned down at a Terrell home.

About 30 minutes later, fire units responded to the blaze at Mary Brownlow's house a few blocks away. When the fire was extinguished, crews found a woman's body in the smoldering wreckage. Lay said it was clearly arson.

At about 10:30 p.m., police responding to a report of a shooting elsewhere in Terrell found the bodies of a man and a woman who had been shot at a home and a 3-year-old boy who wasn't harmed. The child was released to relatives, Lay said.

At this point a description of the stolen vehicle the suspect was believed to be driving was released to officers and, just minutes later, an off-duty police officer saw that vehicle parked outside the convenience store. As the officer called in the sighting, the suspect ran from the store, g-suite manchester jumped in the vehicle and sped away, Lay said.

A high-speed police chase ensued. The suspect wrecked the car and took off on foot into thick woods, dropping a holster or handgun on the way, the chief said.

A police helicopter and dogs were summoned to assist in the manhunt, and the suspect was found hiding in a creek.

The fifth victim, a male clerk, was found slain at the store.

The store's owner, Ali Karimi, said the slain clerk was a model employee and "beautiful young man" who leaves behind a 1-year-old son.

"We're still in the process of putting this massive investigation together," Lay said. "We're still making sure that surviving family members are appropriately notified."


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