McKinney: The End Is in Sight

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FORT BELVOIR, Va.: For Gene McKinney, the nightmare of his marathon sex trial is almost over. Closing arguments took place Tuesday in the case that has brought 19 military charges -- including sexual harassment, adultery and obstruction of justice -- against the U.S. Army's former top enlisted soldier. "There is not a hint, there is not a whisper, there is not even a suggestion of any impropriety in his first 27 years in the Army," McKinney's attorney told the court, pointing to the 26 character witnesses who spoke on his clients behalf.

Now the waiting begins. If convicted, McKinney could be sentenced to a total of 55 1/2 years in prison -- or the eight-member military panel could recommend no penalty at all. The former Sergeant Major has a few reasons to be hopeful. His lawyers have been taking swipes at Staff Sgt. Christine Fetrow, who says McKinney repeatedly groped and propositioned her. A motion to have her charges thrown out was dismissed, but McKinney's team has not given up: Their last three witnesses Monday all vouched for the truthfulness of several former coworkers who testified that Fetrow is a liar. We'll know soon whether that was enough to convince the judges -- or whether this most embarrassing case for the Army's hierarchy will end in 19 guilty verdicts.