Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, a U.S. Army general facing charges of forcible sodomy and engaging in inappropriate relationships
Jeffrey Sinclair, a US general, will not plead guilty if might be placed on the sex offender registerReuters

The top US military general accused of sexual assault will not plead guilty to any charge that may place him on the sex offender register, according to a spokesman for the defence team.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, who is believed to be the highest ranking US military officer, will also not plead guilty to threatening his accuser or her family.

Josh Zeitz, who sits on the defence team, confirmed Sinclair will not plead guilty to sexual assault.

Sinclair, who was one of the top US army commanders in Afghanistan, pleaded guilty to several charges last week, including engaging in inappropriate relationships with three women, misconduct as an officer and committing adultery. He was also charged with sexual assault claims, including forcing a female captain to perform oral sex on him, sodomy and possessing pornography in a war zone.

The government's lawyers have dropped two counts of misconduct as an officer and for cruelty and maltreatment. He still stands accused of "sodomy, by force and without the consent" of his reported victim.

On Tuesday, however, Judge Col. James Pohl dismissed the jury in the midst of an Army general's court martial to allow the defence and prosecution to negotiate a plea deal. Zeitz has confirmed the discussions could take weeks to reach a resolution.

Pohl made the move after new evidence suggested political concerns may have influenced military officials' rejection of a previous plea offer made by Sinclair.

Pohl told the jurors: "There are other issues that have come up in this trial. Sometimes there are twists and turns you can't anticipate."

The new evidence consisted of the release of 22 pages of emails that emerged over the weekened. The documents included a correspondence in January, in which a senior military lawyer wrote to the chief of military justice at Fort Bragg, questioning the credibility of Sinclair's accuser.

In other emails, penned in February, a lieutenant colonel with the Judge Advocate General's Crops asked for a colonel's "thoughts and opinions" on Sinclair's offer to enter a plea.

Around 10,000 e-mails among 12 senior Pentagon officials were identified. According to Zeitz, the Pentagon is reviewing the communications.

When the court martial was dismissed, Pohl suggested there may have been "undue command influence" by Pentagon officials. While he did not grant the defence's request to drop the charges against Sinclair, he ordered that the accused be provided with a potential plea deal.

According to Zeitz, Sinclair's attorneys have also filed a Freedom of Information release of all Pentagon email communcations with keywords associated with Sinclair. If a deal is reached and new information is found within the emails, the defence will likely file a new request for dismissal of charges.