Air Force General Pleads Guilty to Adultery and Dereliction of Duty Amidst High-Profile Trial

Roman Sigaev /
Roman Sigaev /

Major General Phillip Stewart, formerly the head honcho of the US Air Force’s pilot training program, copped a plea deal yesterday, admitting guilt to adultery and shirking duties amidst allegations of far greater wrongdoing. This dramatic turn comes just days into the highly publicized court martial proceedings against this top brass official at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

Initially, Maj. Gen. Stewart maintained innocence when arraigned back in March; however, details surrounding the change of heart were scarce. Notably absent among these admissions: accusations levied regarding alleged non-consensual relations with an unidentified female party member plus claims he commandeered an aircraft mere hours following excessive drinking – both purportedly transpiring during an ill-fated business jaunt to Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma circa spring 2023.

Defense counsel posits their client engaged willingly in intimate acts but categorically denies criminal culpability vis-a-vis those aforementioned incidents. Conversely, prosecutors contend otherwise based on evidence contained within charging documents reviewed exclusively by our publication.

Concurrent fallout saw Maj. Gen. Stewart was relieved of command overseeing major segments of USAF aviator instruction in late late-May 2023 under then-pending investigations spearheaded by Lieutenant General Brian Robinson (head of Air Ed & Train Cmd). Formal charges materialized four months later, encompassing dual counts each of sexual battery, neglectful performance of assigned tasks, alongside single infractions involving “conduct unbefitting” rank plus illicit cohabitation outside wedlock.

January witnessed Maj. Gen. Stewart petition USAF Sec’y Frank Kendall permitting retirement sans formal prosecution – only to see denial handed down next month thereby clearing path toward unprecedented legal showdowns: namely, merely the second instance wherein ranking generals underwent full-blown trials and concurrently confronted courts-martial tied specifically to sexual impropriety offenses.

Jury empanelment proved contentious until recently, stalling progress due largely because the defendant elected peer review necessitating assembly of superior-ranked AF personnel drawn solely from ranks above his own stars or having earned equivalent standing prior thereto—whittling eligible juror candidates down to sixty-eight individuals total. Eighteen prospective members ultimately reported for voir dire examination culminating Sat’day morning per Captain Scarlet Trujillo representing AETC Public Affairs Office speaking Mon’ day morn’.

Plea-bargained penalties potentially entail rebuke, fines, cashiered commission, forfeited compensation along with/ possible eighteen-month imprisonment terms attached to admitted crimes. Should conviction occur spanning the entire gamut, the original indictment carries a mandatory penalty range inclusive of either forced separation via administrative means (‘dishonor’) or a maximum term extending 66 years behind bars accompanied by loss of wages/benefits package.