05 25 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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BAMAKO, Mali (CNN) -- There's no shortage of harrowing stories of life under Islamist militants in northern Mali.

Public floggings for smoking a cigarette.

Brutal beatings for working as a radio journalist.

Broken limbs. Broken hearts.

"For the Islamists, a human being is like an ant you squash, like an animal you slaughter," said Sedou Sangare, a resident of the northern town of Gao.

Gao was once a vibrant community filled with colorful camel caravans lazily strolling down the streets. Bearded men and beaded women mingled freely.

Then the Islamists rode in on rundown pickup trucks, armed to the teeth.

They banned smoking, television, sports and music -- a major setback for the northern region known for its "Festival au Desert."

They forbade unwed men and women from mixing in public.

An offensive led by France is aiming to stop the militants from expanding their reach to the capital of Mali.

But the north remains under the Islamists' iron grip.

'Everybody panicked'

Though Gao has a majority Muslim population, most residents practice a more relaxed form of the religion.

After militants started imposing a stricter form of Islamic law, or Sharia, throngs took to the streets in protest.

"When they declared Sharia, everybody panicked," Sangare said. "Christians, Muslims, everybody fled."

But the protests did not deter the militants, who publicly punished anyone who defied their teachings.

In August last year, they forced a couple allegedly having an affair into two holes and stoned them to death as terrified residents quietly watched.

Lists of public and cruel punishments grew.

Floggings, executions, amputations -- all in full view of aghast residents.

The Islamists compiled a list of unmarried mothers, saying Sharia law condemns relationships outside marriage.

A mayor -- and his people -- displaced

Mayor Sadou Diallo misses residents of his desert town of Gao, most of whom fled to Bamako when militants took over.

About 229,000 Malians have been displaced -- mainly from Kidal, Timbuktu, and Gao, according to the United Nations.

He is one of the displaced. A former respected community leader, trying to rebuild, just like his people.

Residents of the north, once proud of the vibrant desert communities near River Niger, say the region is a shadow of what it used to be.

"Home is not sweet anymore," said Fadimata Alainchar, a charity worker and native of nearby Timbuktu.

A recent visit to her hometown left her shaken.

"When entering the city, the signboard which was: "Welcome to Timbuktu the City of 333 Saints" is now "Welcome to Timbuktu, the gate to the application of the Shariya," she said in a submission to CNN's iReport.

The fabled city includes ancient tombs and wooden structures dating to the 15th century, a major part of its cultural heritage.

And those are not the only changes.

Women who don't cover their bodies in accordance to the militants' Sharia law, are imprisoned or raped, she said. Their husbands, terrified of killings and amputations, don't utter a word.

And gunshots are a common sound.

"If not to disperse women marching, it is to kill dogs that are barking and preventing the insurgents from sleeping," Alainchar said. "Home has changed. Before it was peace, joy and love. Now it is shame, terror and abuse."

"I prefer dying"

Stories of cruel punishments abound.

Radio journalist Malik Maiga faced the militants' wrath when he used his show to warn residents of public stoning or floggings.

Islamists singled him out, beat him up and left him in a cemetery. He survived and is among the displaced in Bamako.

Maiga is not the only journalist targeted. Last week, another radio journalist was killed, leading Gao residents to retaliate by killing a militant leader.

Then there's Suleyman and Muktar, former truck drivers, accused of stealing. Their limbs were hacked off. They are jobless and wander around the capital.

"I prefer dying to being like this," Muktar said. "My hand hurts, my heart aches. I only have God to ask for help."

Mali descended into chaos last year, when junior military members seized power in a coup. Outraged soldiers accused the government of not providing adequate equipment to battle ethnic Tuareg rebels roaming the vast desert in the north.

Tuareg rebels took advantage of the power vacuum after the coup and seized some parts of the north. A power struggle erupted between the rebels and local Islamists, leading the latter to topple the tribe and seize control of two-thirds of northern Mali, an area the size of France.

Hope amid chaos

The crisis in the north has prompted fears that the al Qaeda-linked extremists will set up shop there.

It is "a serious, ongoing threat," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday.

The French offensive to help the government in its former colony aims to stop the militants from using the vast desert area as a training ground for international attacks.

"We are in for a struggle. We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven" for terrorists, Clinton said.

International troops from West African nations such as Nigeria are joining the effort to restore some normalcy to the north.

Amid the strife and despair, citizens of the former French colony remain hopeful.

And as French combat helicopters fly overhead, crowds below erupt into cheers.

But in northern Mali, at least for now, there is little to smile about.

CNN's Nima Elbagir and Ingrid Formanek reported from Bamako and Faith Karimi wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Sarah Brown also contributed to this report

 

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