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Army to drop alcohol charge against general: source

By Colleen Jenkins

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Army prosecutors signaled on Friday they plan to dismiss an alcohol charge against a general accused of forcing sex during an affair and engaging in inappropriate behavior with several female subordinates, a source with direct knowledge of the decision said.

Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair will still face two dozen other military charges in a case that got him sent home last year from his post as a deputy commanding general in Afghanistan.

He could be sent to prison for life if convicted of the most serious charge, forcible sodomy. His court martial is set for June at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Prosecutors charged Sinclair with possessing alcohol in a combat zone, but the defense argued that the liquor in his office was an unopened bottle of Scotch given to him by a visiting dignitary.

Lead defense attorney Richard Scheff and prosecutors were not immediately available for comment on Friday.

Referring to the charge getting dropped, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "The defense is hoping for more of the same in the coming weeks."

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

Sinclair has admitted to the affair but has said he never forced her to have sex.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Greg McCune)