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Extraordinary court-martial of former Wright-Patt commander delayed until April

William Cooley stands at a podium during a news conference
Wesley Farnsworth
U.S. Air Force - DIGITAL
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley, the now former commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, delivers remarks during a 2019 news conference inside the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Updated: January 7, 2022 at 11:45 AM EST
In response to an inquiry about the delay from WVXU, the Air Force further clarified Friday, "beyond Covid concerns, the military judge determined a continuance was warranted and appropriate after considering the factors required by law."

No further details were provided.
Updated: January 6, 2022 at 9:26 PM EST
The trial of Maj. Gen. William Cooley originally scheduled to begin Jan. 10, 2022 is being postponed until April.

The Air Force says in a statement "The shift occurred, in part, due to COVID concerns among the trial participants."

A military judge has set the new trial date for April 18.

The court-martial of the former head of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base that was set to begin Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 has been pushed until April. According to a statement a military judge shifted the date "in part, due to COVID concerns among the trial participants."

Maj. Gen. William Cooley was removed from command Jan. 15, 2020, following allegations of sexual assault.

He could become the first-ever Air Force general officer to have his case adjudicated by court-martial. Maj. Gen. Donald L. Kaufman was arraigned as part of a court-martial in the early 1990s but the case was dismissed and never went to a jury. He was demoted and ended up retiring.

Jury selection in the military trial - a general court-martial - is now set to begin April 18. At least eight jurors will be selected from a pool of military personal of higher ranking. In this case, that means all potential jurors would have to be three- or four-star generals or two-star generals who have served longer.

Similar to a bench trial in civilian courts, Cooley could ask for a military judge alone to hear the case.

As WVXU previously reported, Cooley is charged with abusive sexual contact under Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He is currently serving as the special assistant to the Commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patt.

Cooley allegedly kissed and touched a female victim during an off-duty incident in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Aug. 12, 2018. He has denied the accusations.

Lt. Gen. Gene Kirkland, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, reviewed the evidence and preferred the aforementioned charge with sexual assault specifications. That lead to a hearing similar to a civilian grand jury. A military judge determined the case should go before a general court-martial.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.