Gen. John Hyten, right, hugs his wife Laura, following a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 30, 2019, for his confirmation hearing to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Hyten's former aide, Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, alleges he subjected her to a series of unwanted sexual advances. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Senate panel OKs defense pick despite sex assault allegation

July 31, 2019 - 3:46 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate committee has approved the nomination of an Air Force general to become the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, largely discounting charges of sexual misconduct filed against him by an aide.

Gen. John Hyten flatly denied the allegations during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this week, and an Air Force investigation found no evidence to support the charges. Wednesday's vote was 20-7.

Hyten was opposed by several of the women on the panel, including one Republican, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, a sexual assault survivor. Others voting no were two Democratic presidential contenders, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as well as Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq War veteran who lost her legs when her helicopter was shot down.