05 25 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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Judge Samuel Alito isn't what he claims to be. And he's a lot more of a threat than the pundit class suggests. Yes, he's anti-abortion, and will swing the balance of the Supreme Court if he is confirmed to take the place of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

But Alito is more than a threat to women's right to choose. He's the standard-bearer for the new conservative order, seeking a return to state's rights and corporate rights over the rights of Congress.

President Bush repeats his mantra that this is a nominee who will just interpret the law, not try to make the law. But if that were the case, the right-wing choir of commentators wouldn't be out singing hosannas in his name. In fact, Alito's record as a judge doesn't show deference to the legislature, the branch of government elected by the people. It reveals, instead, a judge quite willing to use his position on the bench to enforce his own views, striking down laws that don't meet his approval. Alito is a right-wing judicial activist masquerading as a man of judicial restraint. He is the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing.

Over the past weeks, the nation has paid fitting tribute to Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement that she helped to spark. But even as he praised Parks, President Bush nominated for the Supreme Court a judge who would reverse much of what she fought for.

When Rosa sat on that bus, Southern states claimed that they had the right to enforce segregation — legal apartheid — on African Americans. They argued that neither the Congress nor the courts had any right to interfere in their internal affairs. When the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that "separate and equal" was unconstitutional, the leaders of segregation were outraged. They denounced the Supreme Court for "judicial activism," and campaigned to impeach Earl Warren, the chief justice nominated by Republican President Eisenhower. They blocked enforcement of the court's ruling and the laws of Congress. It took Parks' courage and the sacrifice and struggle of many to overcome this resistance.

Now, on the far right of American politics, comes a new movement proclaiming that the real Constitution has been "in exile" since the 1930s. They want to roll back not only the privacy doctrine on which women's right to choose rests, but the Warren Court's rulings and those of the Roosevelt court also. They would return the nation to the era of the Gilded Age, when unions were outlawed as a restraint on trade, when corporate regulation was routinely struck down as exceeding congressional power and when states' rights were exalted.

Alito is in that line. He voted to strike down a law passed by Congress restricting the transfer and possession of machine guns at gun shows. He argued that the Congress didn't have the power to regulate the sale of machine guns, without detailed findings — to be reviewed by the courts for adequacy — that there was a connection between the regulation of the transfer of machine guns and interstate commerce. I guess the judge assumed that terrorists with machine guns would just stay in one state, unlike everyone else in the country.

When it came to states' rights, there was no more fierce advocate than retiring Chief Justice Rehnquist. Yet, Alito makes Rehnquist look like a moderate. Alito ruled that the Congress had no right to require state governments to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act for their employees (and by implication with any act regulating their employees). His willingness to legislate from the bench was overturned by the Supreme Court in an opinion written by none other than Chief Justice Rehnquist.

Rosa Parks' legacy stands in contrast to Alito's record. This is a judge who rejected an African American defendant challenging a verdict by an all-White jury purged of Black jurors because of their race. Alito mocked statistical evidence that showed the prosecutions' systematic exclusion of African Americans from juries, suggesting it was as meaningless as the fact that a disproportionate number of presidents had been left-handed.

Any judge that could write that is dangerously blind to the history of this country and numb to the responsibility of the court.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

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