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Senator puts hold on Air Force officer’s promotion

By DONNA CASSATA

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill has put a hold on the nomination of Air Force Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, who is tapped to serve as vice commander of the U.S. Space Command.

McCaskill said in a statement Thursday she wants more information about Helms’ decision last year to overturn a jury conviction in a sexual assault case.

In February 2012, Helms rejected the recommendation of legal counsel and overturned the conviction. An Air Force captain had been found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a female lieutenant.

McCaskill is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been outspoken about the military’s handling of cases of sexual assault. Her hold keeps the Senate from approving Helms’ promotion.

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