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 (AP) -- An oil spill near the coast of Nigeria is likely the worst to hit those waters in a decade, a government official said Thursday, as slicks from the Royal Dutch Shell PLC spill approached the country's southern shoreline.

The slick from Shell's Bonga field has affected 115 miles (185 kilometers) of ocean near Nigeria's coast, Peter Idabor, who leads the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, told The Associated Press. Idabor said the slick continued to move toward the shore, putting at risk birds, fish and other wildlife in the area.

Shell, the major oil producer in Nigeria, said Wednesday the spill likely occurred as workers tried to offload oil onto a waiting tanker. The company published photographs of the spill, showing a telltale rainbow sheen in the ocean, but said it believes that about 50 percent of the leaked oil has already evaporated.

The source of the leak has been plugged and experts from Britain were coming to help with the cleanup, Idabor said. Nigerian Navy ships also had been sent into the area to help control the spill, he said.

Shell estimates the Bonga spill likely was less than 40,000 barrels, or 1.68 million gallons. That's about the same amount of oil spilled offshore in 1998 at a Mobil field. The 1998 spill saw oil slicks extended for more than 100 miles (some 160 kilometers) to Lagos, the country's commercial capital.

"Since the Mobil spill, this is just about the most major one," Idabor said.

Nigerian authorities hope to use oil booms and chemicals to disperse or collect the spilled oil, Idabor said. In a statement, Shell said its Nigerian subsidiary already had sent ships out to the slick to use dispersant on the oil sheen. The company also said it would use infrared equipment to trace places where the sheen is the thickest.

However, the size of the spill may be even larger. SkyTruth, a nonprofit group based in West Virginia that uses satellite imagery to detect environmental problems, estimated the oil spill might stretch across roughly 350 square miles (920 square kilometers) of ocean - three times what Nigerian authorities believe.

"The spill could be near the upper limit of what Shell has stated," John Amos, SkyTruth's founder and president, told the AP on Thursday. However, he said he needed more information to determine the spill's true scope.

Bonga sits about 75 miles (120 kilometers) off Nigeria's coast. It can produce about 200,000 barrels of oil and 150 million cubic feet of gas a day, according to Shell's Nigerian subsidiary. Production at the field, which Shell operates in partnership with Italy's Eni SpA, Exxon Mobil Corp., France's Total SA and the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., has been halted since the discovery of the spill.

Environmentalists blame Shell and other foreign oil firms for polluting the country's oil-rich Niger Delta. Some environmentalists say as much as 550 million gallons of oil poured into the delta during Shell's roughly 50 years of production in Nigeria - a rate roughly comparable to one Exxon Valdez disaster per year. An estimated 11 million gallons was released during the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

Shell in recent years has said most of the spills in the delta are caused by militant attacks or thieves tapping into pipelines to steal crude oil, which ends up sold into the black market or cooked into a crude diesel or kerosene. Company statistics kept by Shell show spills have dropped as militant attacks in the region subsided, though this single spill at Bonga roughly doubles the amount of oil spilled by Shell this year.

Apparently predicting interest in the spill would grow, Shell already had taken out Internet advertising Thursday on search engines, directing those searching for the spill to their website. Jonathan French, a Shell spokesman in London, said the advertising came in the "interests of full transparency" so people can read the company's updates on the spill.

Nigeria, an OPEC member nation producing about 2.4 million barrels of crude oil a day, is a top supplier to the U.S.

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Online:

Royal Dutch Shell PLC: http://www.shell.com

Shell's Nigeria spill website: http://bit.ly/rqfnxi

SkyTruth: http://skytruth.org/

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Jon Gambrell can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP .

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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