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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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IDF commandos and activists clashing on the deck of the Mavi Marmara

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and cut military ties on Friday over Israel's refusal to apologize for last year's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, further straining a relationship that had been a cornerstone of regional stability.

The dramatic move came hours before the release of a U.N. report that called the Israeli raid that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists "excessive and unreasonable." The U.N. panel also blamed Turkey and flotilla organizers for contributing to the deaths.

The rupture between the Jewish state and what was once its most important Muslim ally raised concerns Egypt and Jordan might follow, increasing Israel's isolation in the region.

"If this ends with Turkey, it will be a miracle," said Alon Liel, a former Israeli ambassador to Turkey. "There is a lot of internal pressure in Egypt, and Turkey could use its clout in the Arab and Muslim world to pressure other nations to follow suit."

Turkey had made an Israeli apology a condition of improved diplomatic ties. But Israel insisted its forces acted in self defense and said there would be no apology. Israeli officials pointed out that the U.N. report does not demand an apology, recommending instead that Israel express regret and pay reparations.

"Israel once again expresses its regret over the loss of life, but will not apologize for its soldiers taking action to defend their lives," the government said in a statement. "As any other state, Israel has the right to defend its civilians and soldiers."

The 105-page report said Israel's naval blockade of Gaza was legally imposed "as a legitimate security measure" to prevent weapons smuggling, but added that the killing of eight Turkish activists and a Turkish-American was "unacceptable."

"The events of May 31, 2010, should never have taken place as they did and strenuous efforts should be made to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future," the report said.

The panel criticized Israel for failing to give "clear prior warning" that the vessels were to be boarded and failing to use "nonviolent options."

But the panel also found the flotilla "acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade." While the majority of flotilla participants had no violent intentions, it said "there exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers."

As for the Turkish government, the panel said, it should have done more to warn flotilla participants of "the potential risks involved and dissuade them from their actions."

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that while the report noted "the violence committed by the Israeli soldiers," he criticized its characterization of Israel's naval blockade as a legitimate security measure in line with international law.

"To be frank, the report is null and void for us," Turkish President Abdullah Gul said.

In a statement, Israel said it accepted the report's conclusions, but "does not concur with the panel's characterization of Israel's decision to board the vessels in the manner it did as 'excessive and unreasonable.'"

Davutoglu said his government was downgrading diplomatic ties with Israel to the level of second secretary and that the ambassador and other high-level diplomats would leave the country by Wednesday.

He said all military agreements signed between the former allies were being suspended, and that Turkey would back court actions against Israel by flotilla victims' families and take steps to ensure "free navigation" in the eastern Mediterranean.

"The time has come for Israel to pay for its stance that sees it above international laws and disregard human conscience," Davutoglu said. "The first and foremost result is that Israel is going to be devoid of Turkey's friendship."

The Obama administration said it was reviewing the report.

"The U.S. has long-standing friendships with both Israel and Turkey," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "We regret that prior to the publication of the report they were unable to reach agreement on steps that might have helped overcome their differences.

"We hope they will continue to look for opportunities to improve their long-standing relationship, and we will encourage both to work towards that end."

The breakdown in Israeli-Turkish relations increases Israel's isolation at a sensitive time. Israel faces turmoil in ties with regional ally Egypt, where there have been growing calls to revoke the three-decade-old Egypt-Israel peace agreement following the ouster of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak. Last month, Egypt briefly threatened to withdraw its ambassador from Israel after a shooting in southern Israel left five Egyptian soldiers dead.

It also comes as Israel seeks to muster international support against an attempt by the Palestinians to have their state recognized at the U.N. later this month.

Turkey was once Israel's closest ally in the region. Ankara had mediated several rounds of indirect negotiations between Israel and Syria in 2008, but the talks made no significant headway and were suspended following the Israeli military offensive in Gaza the following year.

Ties have soured further in recent years and deteriorated sharply after the flotilla bloodshed on May 31, 2010. The Israeli ambassador's expulsion is the most significant downgrading in ties between the two countries.

Under Turkish-Israeli military agreements, Israel provided Turkey with drones which the country uses to gather intelligence on Kurdish rebels fighting Ankara for autonomy. Israel has also modernized Turkish tanks and warplanes while Israeli pilots used Turkey's airspace to train. The countries' militaries have also trained with each other in both countries, and were top defense trading partners, although no new defense contracts have been signed since 2008.

In Gaza, Hamas applauded the Turkish move.

"This is a natural response to the Israeli crime against the freedom flotilla" and to the continuation of the naval blockade, spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

The Turkish-flagged ship Mavi Marmara was en route to Gaza in an attempt to bring international attention to Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory.

After the violence triggered an international outcry, Israel eased restrictions on goods moving into Gaza overland, but left the naval blockade in place.

The activists charge the blockade constitutes collective punishment and is illegal. Israel asserts that it is necessary to prevent weapons from reaching militants who regularly bombard Israeli towns with rockets from Gaza.

The U.N. committee was composed of two international diplomats - former leaders of New Zealand and Colombia - as well as a representative from Israel and one from Turkey.

---

Friedman reported from Jerusalem. Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations, Aron Heller in Jerusalem and Bradley Klapper in Washington contributed to this report.

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