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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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former government space scientist pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of attempted espionage for trying to sell classified information to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli spy.

During an appearance in federal court, Stewart David Nozette admitted that he tried to provide Israel with top secret information about satellites, early warning systems, ways of retaliating against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information and major elements of defense strategy.

Both the Justice Department and Nozette's lawyers have agreed to a sentence of 13 years in prison, with credit for two years Nozette has already spent behind bars. U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said he was prepared to accept the deal, pending Nozette's cooperation with prosecutors, a procedure expected to last into November.

Appearing in court in a prison jumpsuit, Nozette said he understood the charge to which he was pleading. He could have been sentenced to death had he been convicted of all four counts of attempted espionage that he faced.

Just before his arrest, Nozette told an undercover FBI agent in the sting operation on Oct. 19, 2009, that the secrets he was passing to Israel had cost the U.S. government anywhere from $200 million to almost $1 billion, according to newly filed court papers in the case.

"So I tell ya, ... theoretically I should charge you certainly, you know, at most" 1 percent, the court papers quoted Nozette as telling the agent.

In the Oct. 19 conversation at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, Nozette told the undercover agent that "I've crossed the Rubicon ... I've made a career choice," and then, according to the papers, he laughed.

"I'm prepared to give them the whole thing ... all the technical specifications," according to the court papers.

"The cost to the U.S. government was $200 million ... to develop it all," Nozette is quoted as saying. "And then that's not including the launching of it. ... Integrating the satellites. ... that probably brings it to almost a billion dollars."

Nozette had high-level security clearances during decades of government work on science and space projects at NASA, the Energy Department and the National Space Council in President George H.W. Bush's White House. He has a doctorate in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was known primarily as a defense technologist who had worked on the Reagan-era missile defense shield effort formally called the Strategic Defense Initiative. He also helped discover evidence of water on the moon.

Because Nozette knows so many secrets, including about the nation's nuclear missile program, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered special communications restrictions placed on him in jail.

During a hearing after his arrest, the prosecutor played video from the September 2009 sting in which Nozette lounged on a hotel room couch, eating and laughing with the undercover agent. He discussed the possibility of having to flee the country if he came under scrutiny.

Prosecutors say Nozette agreed to provide regular information to the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, through a post office box in exchange for money. They accuse him of asking for an Israeli passport and payments in cash under $10,000 each to avoid reporting it. Authorities said he took two payments - one for $2,000 and another for $9,000 - from the post office box to answer questions about U.S. satellites, including early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information and major elements of defense strategy.

Nozette also ran a nonprofit corporation out of his Chevy Chase, Md., home called the Alliance for Competitive Technology that had several agreements to develop advanced technology for the U.S. government. In January 2009, he pleaded guilty to two counts of tax evasion and admitted overstating his costs for reimbursement and failing to report the income on his tax returns. His sentencing in that case has been held while the espionage charges have been pending.

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Follow Nedra Pickler's coverage of legal affairs at http://twitter.com/nedrapickler .

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