WASHINGTON (July 16, 2013)--The effort to overhaul the military justice system to stem a tide of sexual assaults has gained a crucial conservative backer in the U.S. Senate.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced his support Tuesday for legislation sponsored by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial, leaving the judgment instead with seasoned trial lawyers who have prosecutorial experience and hold the rank of colonel or above.
Paul joined Gillibrand at a Capitol Hill news conference along with other Republicans and Democrats who back the measure.
The effort now has the support of 33 senators.
The Senate could decide the issue later this month if lawmakers consider a sweeping defense bill.