05 24 2016
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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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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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With cold weather already hitting the Willamette Valley, low-income residents will have $15 million in grants to weatherize their homes and pay heating bills.

A new Web site also is available to help Oregonians learn about energy assistance programs and develop strategies to save energy and money. The site is www.warmoregon.org.

The $15 million home weatherization grants are the result of settlements with El Paso Corp. and Duke Energy reached after an investigation of price manipulation and antitrust violations in the Western power market. The attorneys general of Oregon, California and Washington initiated the investigation in January 2001.

So far, the investigation has resulted in settlements totaling over $2 billion, of which approximately $50 million has been allocated to Oregon. Of that, $15 million will be dedicated to helping approximately 15,000 Oregon households pay heating bills and another 1,000 families weatherize their homes, said Attorney General Hardy Myers.

"This winter Oregonians will be faced with record heating bills," Myers said. "These grants will have an immediate and lasting impact on the Oregonians most victimized during the price spikes of 2000 and 2001."

The grants provide $5.5 million to help pay the energy bills of low-income households through Oregon HEAT, a nonprofit company committed to helping low-income Oregonians meet their household energy needs and move them toward energy self-reliance; and Oregon Housing and Community Services. In the past, assistance has amounted to about $300 per household in a typical heating season, but costs are expected to rise significantly during the coming winter months.

Another $4.5 million is being allocated to weatherize low-income dwelling units, including existing housing and new, energy-efficient housing yet to be built through programs conducted by Oregon Housing and Community Services.

A $350,000 grant also will fund research to show the cost-effectiveness of low-income energy assistance. Sponsored by Oregon HEAT, the research will be conducted by Quantec Inc., a Portland-based organization specializing in environmental research.

Oregon HEAT has  already received a $250,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust. Results of the research will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of providing assistance to ratepayers rather than relying on termination and collection activities that may force those unable to pay their bills to abandon their dwellings.

The grants also will provide about $800,000 to support a statewide case management system through Housing and Community Services. Case managers based at community action agencies will be able to help families seeking bill-paying assistance to also become eligible for weatherization and conservation training.

Some smaller programs are included in the grant distribution. For example, $320,000 will be allocated to install solar hot water heaters in 75 low-income homes and develop a template for such programs. Another $180,000 will fund Energy Share Plus, a Lane County program that combines services including energy education, efficient appliances and some bill payments for low-income households, including extremely low-income, elderly and disabled Oregonians.

The attorney general also has allocated $125,000 to the Portland-based Community Energy Project Inc. to expand its program, which makes extensive use of volunteers to provide workshops, training and in-home weatherization kits for extremely low-income Oregonians.

The Department of Justice's Consumer Protection and Education Account will receive $1.2 million for continuing enforcement efforts.

The Web site, www.warmoregon.org, is a product of the Oregon Department of Energy. The site is designed to provide Oregonians with an array of resources to help contain energy costs both at home and at work. It includes information on weatherization, bill paying, energy use reduction and offers other energy-related tips designed to save Oregonians money and preserve resources. OregonHEAT can be reached by phone at 503-612-3790.

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