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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LAGOS, Nigeria -- The top opposition candidate called Sunday for Nigeria's presidential vote to be annulled, branding the election as the worst ever conducted in Africa's most-populous nation and top oil producer.
While the government acknowledged there were widespread problems with Saturday's vote, it defended the election as free and fair. "The election has been largely successful: We've broken the jinx," said Electoral Commission Chairman Maurice Iwu.
Associated Press reporters, however, witnessed ballot-paper shortages in opposition strongholds and open rigging favoring the ruling party of outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo. Local media reported intimidation by thugs with knives and guns.
Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who fell out with Obasanjo last year and ran as an opposition candidate, said no free and fair election could be arranged by the current electoral commission, which he accuses of partisanship toward the ruling party and Obasanjo.
"I have already rejected the election. They have no alternative than to cancel the election all together," he said. "What we have seen clearly prove our fears that it is the worst election that we ever seen."
The Transition Monitoring Group, an independent election monitoring group claiming 50,000 Nigerian observers, also called for the election to be annulled, saying voting hadn't been held in many of the country's 36 states and had started very late in many others.
"That's why we're calling for the cancellation of the entire exercise," said Innocent Chukwuma, the chairman of the body.
The other main opposition party of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari didn't immediately say it rejected the vote, but described it in disparaging terms. "Some voting has taken place, but there was no election," said Abba Kyari, a spokesman for the party.
International election observers have not yet commented on the conduct of the vote. Germany, which holds the rotating European Union presidency this month, said in a statement, however, that it was worried about the reports of irregularities and use of violence in some regions.
"These incidents have given rise to concerns that not all Nigerians entitled to vote really were able to do so freely and without fear," the statement said. Germany added it would carefully examine the final report from EU election observers, calling on the Nigerian government "to ensure that there are no doubts abut the credibility of the election results."
Obasanjo on Saturday hailed the vote as a major step forward for democracy in Nigeria. Iwu rejected the opposition's challenges to the vote's credibility.
"Anyone who says (the vote) was not free and fair wants to mess this country up," he said. "There's no question of legitimacy."
The presidential winner must gain the most votes nationwide and at least a quarter of ballots cast in 24 of Nigeria's 36 states. If not, a runoff election would be held within one month. A new government will take power May 29.
Electoral officials said they hoped to release results by late Monday.
Competition for government revenues flowing from the oil industry means Nigerian political seats are hotly -- and often violently -- contested. Despite the fact there were few reports of widespread violence Saturday, Abubakar's outright rejection of the election could undermine any ruling party win, pitting large segments of the population against the other.
Many voting centers opened well after the official start, if at all, and those that did were plagued by delays and what the opposition described as irregularities.
Local media described ruling party thugs running off with ballot boxes or driving away voters with guns and knives.
At one polling center in southern Nigeria, electoral workers could be heard shouting for the ballots to be hidden as an AP reporter approached. A week earlier, in the same area, workers could be seen affixing their own thumbprints on stacks of ballots and stuffing them into the boxes.
Presidential ballots distributed Saturday in many parts of the country lacked serial numbers that would guard against fraud by allowing officials to track the papers from ballot boxes through collation centers.
Iwu said there was no time to print serialized ballots as Abubakar's name was only added to the ballots during the week after a Supreme Court ruling clearing his participation in the vote.
In the main city of Lagos, some polling centers in opposition strongholds had only a fraction of the ballot papers needed, sparking accusations that the vote was being suppressed. Electoral workers freely reached hands inside ballot boxes.
Obasanjo, a former military ruler, won a 1999 election that ended 15 years of near-constant military rule. His 2003 re-election was marked by allegations of massive vote rigging. He was prevented from running again by constitutional term limits.
This campaign, as in 2003, has been troubled. The opposition rejected as fraudulent elections a week earlier for state offices largely won by Obasanjo's ruling party.

--The Associated Press

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