Military sexual assault judgments should be based on fact, Hagel says

      WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is telling military leaders to base decisions in sexual assault and other cases on facts and their own independent judgment.

      Hagel sent a memo meant to blunt recent comments by President Barack Obama that are being used to get some sexual assault cases dismissed.

      The Associated Press obtained the memo. It says that senior U.S. leaders will continue to condemn misconduct, such as sexual assault and drug use. But he says their comments are not intended to sway particular cases.

      Obama said in May that sexual offenders in the military should be, quote, "court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period." His comments have been used by defense attorneys in at least two cases to get charges dismissed or outcomes altered.