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 new budget report released Tuesday predicts the government will run a $1.1 trillion deficit in the fiscal year that ends in September, a slight dip from last year but still very high by any measure.

The Congressional Budget Office report also says that annual deficits will remain in the $1 trillion range for the next several years if Bush-era tax cuts slated to expire in December are extended, as commonly assumed - and if Congress is unable to live within the tight "caps" the lawmakers themselves placed on agency budgets last year.

The report is yet another reminder of the perilous fiscal situation the government is in, but it's commonly assumed that President Barack Obama and lawmakers in Congress will be able to accomplish little on the deficit issue during an election year. The report was slightly more pessimistic than CBO's most recent projections last summer and would mean the fourth straight year of trillion-dollar-plus deficits.

The first wave of statements from lawmakers had a familiar ring as each party cast blame on the other.

"Four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits, no credible plan to lift the crushing burden of debt," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., "The president and his party's leaders have fallen short in their duty to tackle our generation's most pressing fiscal and economic challenges."

"We will not solve this problem unless both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D. "Republicans must be willing to put revenue on the table."

The CBO study also predicts modest economic growth of 2 percent this year and forecasts that the unemployment rate will be 8.9 percent on Election Day. That is based on an assumption that President Barack Obama will fail to win renewal of payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits by the end of next month.

That jobless rate is higher than the rates that contributed to losses by Presidents Jimmy Carter (7.5 percent) and George H.W. Bush (7.4 percent). The agency also predicts that unemployment will average 9.1 percent in 2013 and remain at 7 percent or above through 2015.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, however, told reporters that extending the two percentage point cut in Social Security payroll taxes would only lift the economy by perhaps one-fourth of a percentage point this year and would likely yield only a 0.1 to 0.2 percentage point drop in the jobless rate.

The agency's budget projections are worse than those issued last summer, in large part because its views on the economy are more pessimistic now. Last August, CBO predicted a $953 billion deficit for 2012 fiscal year. Corporate tax receipts are sharply lower than anticipated last year.

On the economy as a whole, CBO now predicts 2 percent growth from the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of this year, a 0.7 percentage point drop from its August numbers. Its predictions of the jobless rate are 0.4 percent higher.

"We have not had a period of such persistently high unemployment since the Depression," Elmendorf said.

The new figures also show that last summer's budget and debt pact has barely made a dent in the government's fiscal woes.

The pact imposed $2.1 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, but lawmakers are already talking about easing across-the-board spending cuts required under the agreement. The modified estimates predict $11 trillion in accumulated deficits over the 2013-2022 if the Bush-era cuts in taxes on income, investments, large estates and on families with children are renewed. Obama has proposed largely extending them, but allowing them to expire for upper-income taxpayers.

Extending the full range of the Bush tax cuts costs $5.4 trillion over the coming decade, CBO says. Elmendorf said allowing tax rates to increase for families making more than $250,000 a year as Obama has proposed would shave perhaps $1 trillion from the 10-year costs of extending the tax cuts.

Last year, Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, tried but failed to reach a "grand bargain" on the deficit, an effort that got hung up over taxes and cuts to major benefit programs like Medicare. A subsequent attempt by a congressional "supercommittee" to find smaller saving sputtered over the same issues.

What's left is a heap of unfinished business that comes to a head at the end of the year: expiring tax cuts and painful across-the-board cuts to the Pentagon and many domestic programs. To top it off, another politically toxic increase in the debt limit will be needed at some point shortly after the November elections.

The deficit would require the government to borrow 30 cents of every dollar it spends. Put another way, the deficit will reach 7 percent of the size of the economy, a slight dip from last year's 8.7 percent of gross domestic product.

The CBO report shows that the deficit dilemma would largely be solved if the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 - and renewed in 2010 through the end of this year - were allowed to lapse. Under that scenario, the deficit would drop to $585 billion in 2013 and to $220 billion in 2017.

But expiration of those tax cuts would slam the economy, CBO said, bringing growth down to a paltry 1.1 percent next year. However, the economy would quickly rebound in 2014 and beyond.

Obama is scheduled to release his 2013 budget on Feb. 13.

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