05 24 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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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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U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey at a
book signing

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A poet-historian representing a younger generation of writers will soon take office on Capitol Hill, overlooking the politicians, in a lesser-known post enshrined in federal law.

The Library of Congress named Natasha Trethewey on Thursday to be its 19th U.S. poet laureate with a mission to share the art of poetry with a wider audience. The 46-year-old English and creative writing professor at Atlanta's Emory University distinguished herself early, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

Trethewey will be the first poet in chief to take up residence in Washington to work at the library's Poetry Room for part of her term in 2013. As one of the youngest poet laureates ever selected, she also brings fresh perspective to an office more recently held by poets in their 80s.

Part of her work has focused on restoring history that has been erased or forgotten from the official record and the nation's shared memory. She has researched in the library's Civil War archive to inform some of her writings.

Trethewey won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her collection of poems, ``Native Guard.'' She wrote of the Louisiana Native Guard, a black Civil War regiment assigned to guard white Confederate soldiers held on Ship Island off Mississippi's Gulf Coast.

The Confederate prisoners were later memorialized on the island, but not the black Union soldiers.

A stanza reads:

``Some names shall deck the page of history

``as it is written on stone. Some will not.''

Librarian of Congress James Billington, who chose Trethewey after hearing her read at the National Book Festival in Washington, said her work explores many tragedies of the Civil War.

``She's taking us into history that was never written,'' he told The Associated Press. ``She takes the greatest human tragedy in American history -- the Civil War, 650,000 people killed, the most destructive war of human life for a century -- and she takes us inside without preaching.''

It's a ``happy coincidence,'' he said, that Trethewey was chosen during the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States. He was also impressed with her skill in translating a visual image into words and moving from rhyme to free verse -- but always keeping her poems accessible.

Trethewey began writing poems after a personal tragedy. While she was a college freshman, her mother was killed by a stepfather Trethewey had long feared.

``I started writing poems as a response to that great loss, much the way that people responded, for example, after 9/11,'' she told the AP. ``People who never had written poems or turned much to poetry turned to it at that moment because it seems like the only thing that can speak the unspeakable.''

She is the nation's first poet laureate to hail from the South since the first federal poet -- Robert Penn Warren -- was named by the Library of Congress in 1986. She is also Mississippi's top poet and will be the first person to serve simultaneously as a state and U.S. laureate.

Her term, beginning in September, also coincides with the 75th anniversary of the poetry center and a dedicated poet-consultant position at the world's largest library.

Trethewey said she hopes to promote national activity around poetry and to engage with the library and people who visit the nation's capital.

Past poet laureates have included W.S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Rita Dove and Warren -- the Southern native who was an inspiration for Trethewey. Their agendas as the nation's chief poets have included readings across the country, newspaper syndication of poems and poetry readings over high school public address systems.

Poetry lives in the Trethewey family. Her father, Eric Trethewey, is a poet and college professor. But when she went to graduate school, she was more interested in telling stories and studied fiction writing.

``On a dare that first semester, a poet friend of mine got me to write a poem. I did it because I thought I would prove that I couldn't do it,'' she said. ``It was at that moment that something really clicked.''

Her Pulitzer-winning poems also included her personal history as the daughter of interracial parents -- and the story of her mother, who died at the age of 40.

In ``Miscegenation,'' a poem in ``Native Guard,'' she wrote about her parents' journey to Ohio in 1965 for a marriage that was illegal at home in Mississippi.

``They crossed the river into Cincinnati, a city whose name

``begins with a sound like sin, the sound of wrong -- mis in Mississippi.''

Trethewey's next collection of poems, ``Thrall,'' will be published this year. It explores her relationship with her white father and shared and divergent memory within families, along with poems about paintings and the history of knowledge from the Enlightenment.

 

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