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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James McJunkin, head of the FBI Washington field office

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- More than three dozen suspicious but apparently harmless letters addressed to District of Columbia schools appear to have been mailed from the Dallas area and closely resemble letters under investigation by authorities there, the FBI said Friday.

Envelopes containing a white, powdery substance were delivered to 28 D.C. schools on Thursday. One school received two letters. On Friday morning, eight more envelopes were found: four that had been delivered to schools and four more that were collected at a mail facility by U.S. postal inspectors, said Lindsay Godwin, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington Field Office.

No hazardous substances have been found in any of the envelopes, and no one has been injured or become ill after coming into contact with them. They are being analyzed at an FBI laboratory in Quantico, Va.

The letters had the same characteristics as mailings under investigation by the FBI and postal inspectors in Dallas, the FBI said in a news release. James McJunkin, head of the Washington field office, said similar letters have been mailed to schools elsewhere in the U.S. over the last several weeks.

A few of the letters were also sent to D.C. schools last October, the FBI said.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that the envelopes contained a letter referring to al-Qaida and the FBI and that the white powder had the look and consistency of cornstarch. The official was not authorized to release the information and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The envelopes were addressed to the schools and not to individuals, and the addresses were typed, the FBI said. WRC-TV in Washington obtained an image of one of the letters that had a Dallas postmark. The stamp appeared to be canceled on May 2, the day after the U.S. announced it had killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

D.C. schools began reporting the letters around 1 p.m. Thursday. The city has more than 100 public schools and another 52 charter schools with 93 campuses. Mayor Vincent Gray condemned the mailings as "a dastardly act."

Schools were open on time Friday, and police were working with postal inspectors to make sure mail delivered to the schools was safe, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.

Responding to the mailings tied up "hundreds of hours of police and law enforcement resources," the FBI said in a news release. McJunkin said Thursday that sending the letters was a "serious criminal offense" and that authorities had to be vigilant in case one of them contained something hazardous.

Mark Simon, whose daughter is an 11th grader at Washington's School Without Walls where a suspicious letter was sent, said he wasn't overly concerned about the school's safety.

"This is not an unusual thing. This is what we live with, not just in this city but everywhere in the country," Simon said.

People have been wary of powdery substances in letters since a series of anthrax mailings after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Five people died in October and November 2001 from anthrax inhalation or exposure linked to the letters. The government eventually determined that Bruce Ivins, a researcher who worked at Fort Detrick in Maryland and later committed suicide, was behind the mailings of powdered spores.

---

Associated Press writers Jessica Gresko and Brett Zongker in Washington and Eric Tucker in Tuscaloosa, Ala., contributed to this report.

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