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US Naval Academy Head Testifies in DC

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Naval Academy’s head is rejecting suggestions that political pressure influenced him in pursuing sexual assault charges against a football player at the school.

The school’s superintendent, Vice Adm. Michael Miller, dismissed the suggestions Friday while testifying for more than three hours in a military courtroom in Washington. His appearance was part of a hearing ahead of a scheduled trial for the student, Joshua Tate of Nashville, Tenn.

It was Miller’s decision to move forward with charges against Tate, and the midshipman’s lawyers contend he was influenced by a heightened focus on preventing and responding to sexual assault in the military. Tate’s lawyers want a military judge to dismiss the case based on “unlawful command influence.”

Miller says he had complete freedom in deciding and wasn’t pressured by superiors.

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