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General lost post in adultery inquiry, lawyer says

WASHINGTON -- The four-star Army general relieved of command this week is alleged to have had an extramarital affair with a woman who does not work for the military or the federal government, the general's attorney said yesterday.

General Kevin P. Byrnes was sacked as commander of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., and the Army has not ruled out taking additional disciplinary action against him.

Army officials declined to discuss any details of the accusations, except to say they involved sexual misconduct.

Byrnes's attorney, Lieutenant Colonel David H. Robertson, said Byrnes and his wife separated in May 2004 and they remained separated until their divorce became final Monday -- the same day Byrnes was removed from command.

''The allegation against General Byrnes involves a consensual, adult relationship with a woman who is not in the military, nor is a civilian employee of the military or the federal government," Robertson said in an e-mail exchange. He said Byrnes approved the statement but was not willing to be interviewed directly about the matter.

Robertson did not say whether the allegation is that the affair took place before Byrnes's separation from his wife. Under military rules of behavior, it would be considered adultery if it occurred before the divorce became final.

Robertson referred to the Army's allegation against Byrnes but he neither confirmed nor denied an affair.

Following an inspector general's investigation of the alleged affair, top Army leaders are still considering what step to take next. One possibility is that Byrnes will be permitted to retire, as he had planned before the disclosure of the alleged affair, with no other punitive action taken against him.

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