FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — A court-martial is set to get underway today for an Army general believed to be the highest ranking officer to ever face trial for sexual assault charges.

A jury will be seated in the case of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, who has pleaded not guilty to eight criminal charges including forcible sodomy, indecent acts and conduct unbecoming an officer. The former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.

It's extremely rare for such a high-ranking military officer to face trial. Under the military justice system, members of the panel must be senior in rank to the accused — ensuring that Sinclair will be judged by a jury of generals.

Opening statements are set for Thursday.