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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Rupert Murdoch

LONDON (AP) -- The British government on Tuesday joined in calls for Rupert Murdoch to shelve his ambition of taking full control of British Sky Broadcasting as his newspapers are embroiled in a spreading investigation of alleged phone hacking and bribery.

Prime Minister David Cameron's office said the government will vote with the opposition Labour Party on Wednesday to support a motion calling for Murdoch to abandon the bid.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said this would be the simplest way to ensure that the bid isn't considered until criminal investigations are complete. A News Corp. spokeswoman declined to comment on the government's announcement.

The decision capped a day in which former Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused Murdoch's U.K. newspapers of employing criminals to obtain confidential information about his family and ordinary people, and police officers came under sharp criticism for failing to turn up evidence of some of the most serious spying allegations.

Brown's furious denunciation of the politically powerful News International papers came after it was revealed The Sun newspaper obtained confidential information in 2006 that Brown's infant son Fraser had cystic fibrosis.

They "really exploited people - I'm not talking so much about me here now, I'm talking about people who were at rock bottom," Brown told the BBC. Brown said he knew of no legitimate way The Sun could have found out about his son's illness, though the newspaper said it used legitimate means.

"They will have to explain themselves," he said.

Besides disrupting the media mogul's plans to take over highly profitable satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting, the widening allegations have slashed billions off the value of Murdoch's global conglomerate, News Corp. It has put his top editors in the U.K. under pressure and renewed anger at London's Metropolitan Police for dropping an earlier investigation into company practices.

At a tense House of Commons parliamentary committee hearing, one current and two former senior officials of London's Metropolitan Police said they regretted that an investigation of the News of the World in 2006 had not uncovered the extent of the alleged phone hacking, which allegedly spread to The Sun tabloid and the upmarket Sunday Times.

They blamed the News of the World and News International for not cooperating and pleaded that the force was preoccupied with terrorism investigations.

Resources were stretched and there weren't enough officers to fully staff 70 terrorist investigations running at the time, said Peter Clarke, former commander of the anti-terrorist branch.

The hacking case yielded convictions and prison sentences for a reporter and a private detective working for News of the World.

Documents gathered in the first investigation yielded 3,870 names, 5,000 landline numbers and 4,000 mobile numbers that may potentially have been hacked, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers told the committee. So far, she said, police had contacted 170 potential targets of hacking.

Outrage exploded last week when it was claimed that News of the World employees hacked the phone of Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old murder victim, as police searched for her in 2002. The hacker allegedly deleted some voicemail messages, giving her parents false hope that the girl was still alive and using her phone.

The scandal has broadened, with among others accusations, the allegation that Murdoch reporters paid Queen Elizabeth II's bodyguards for secret information about the monarch, potentially jeopardizing her safety.

Cameron said Brown had highlighted what "looks like yet another example of an appalling invasion of privacy and the hacking of personal data," and said he was determined that current investigations would get to the bottom of it.

In an interview with the BBC, Brown said he and his wife Sarah were in tears after being informed by Rebekah Brooks, then the editor of The Sun and now the chief executive of News International, that the paper knew about his son's illness.

Brown also accused The Sunday Times of employing criminals to hack into his bank and tax records.

"Rock bottom was the rock upon which The Sunday Times founded their reputation, and other newspapers in News International founded their reputation, for purely commercial gain, and in some cases to abuse political power," Brown said.

"What about the person, like the family of Milly Dowler, who are in the most desperate of circumstances, the most difficult occasions in their lives, in huge grief and then they find that they are totally defenseless in this moment of greatest grief from people who are employing these ruthless tactics with links to known criminals?" Brown added.

Brown did not identify anyone he believed to be a criminal employed by News International.

In a brief statement responding to Brown, News International said: "So that we can investigate these matters further, we ask that all information concerning these allegations is provided to us."

A News International official, speaking on condition of anonymity, asserted that the information was obtained legitimately.

Members of the House of Commons Home Affairs committee repeatedly expressed incredulity that police had not gone further with their original investigation.

But Ian Blair, who led the Metropolitan Police from 2005 to 2008, told legislators that phone hacking by newspapers "was never a major issue in my time."

"It was a tiny fragmentary event in the events that were taking place across London at the time," Blair said.

Assistant commissioner John Yates faced a barrage of questions about his decision following a one-day review not to reopen the investigation in 2009 after fresh allegations surfaced.

"In hindsight, had I known what I should have known, it was a poor decision," Yates said.

Meanwhile, opposition Labour Party legislator Tom Watson said Brooks, Murdoch and his son James had been invited to appear next week before the House of Commons committee which deals with media issues. There was no immediate response from News International.

(This version corrects day of week in first paragraph.)

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