Lawyers: Navy supt. pushed to pursue assault case

WASHINGTON (AP) – Lawyers for a former U.S. Naval Academy football player accused of sexual assault are arguing that political pressure influenced the decision to move forward with his case and it should therefore be dropped.

Lawyers for Joshua Tate of Nashville, Tenn., made that argument and others Monday during a hearing in front of a military judge in Washington. The 21-year-old Tate is facing a court-martial, the military’s equivalent of a trial, in March.

Tate’s lawyers argue that Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael Miller felt political pressure to move forward with Tate’s case, but Miller disputed that suggestion last month when he testified before the same judge.

Prosecutors initially accused Tate and two other students of sexually assaulting a female student in 2012. He is now the only one charged.