FORT BRAGG, N.C. -

A military judge has accepted a North Carolina Army general's guilty pleas on lesser charges in a deal that includes the dropping of sexual assault charges against him.

The hearing Monday at Fort Bragg caps the high-profile prosecution of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair. It comes as the military continues to grapple with revelations of sex crimes in its ranks and political pressure to address the issue. A sentencing hearing for Sinclair is expected to begin after a two-hour recess.

He is believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to face court-martial on sexual assault charges.

Sinclair, 51, had been accused of twice forcing a female captain under his command to perform oral sex during a three-year extramarital affair.

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Defense attorneys say an Army general has agreed to a plea deal that includes the dropping of sexual assault charges against him.

A news release Sunday from lawyers representing Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair says that he will plead to lesser charges in exchange for having the sexual assault charges dropped along with two others that might have required Sinclair to register as a sex offender.

The news release says the agreement has been approved and signed by a high-ranking general overseeing the case. It says Sinclair will plead guilty to several other charges.

Defense attorney Richard Scheff says in the news release that Sinclair is admitting to his mistakes and that it's time to put the matter to rest.

Sinclair was accused of twice forcing a female captain to perform oral sex on him during a three-year extramarital affair.