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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Extraordinary rendition map based on 2007 data
 

(CNN) -- As many as 54 countries participated in the overseas detention and rendition programs overseen by the CIA in the years following the September 11 attacks, according to a new report from a human rights watchdog group.

The report from the Open Society Justice Initiative is an extensive look at a program that has remained largely unreported in its size and scale despite official acknowledgement from former President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials.

According to the report, 136 people have been subjected to the process of rendition - the transfer of a terrorism suspect by the United States to a third country for interrogation - or have been held in one of the so-called "black site" prisons in third countries run by the CIA.

"The consequence of having so many partners engaged in these operations is that the United States is exposed to continuing embarrassment, liability and censure in multiple jurisdictions outside the United States," Amrit Singh, the report's author told CNN.

The findings were derived from public sources, including documents from U.S. and foreign governments, inquiries from the European Parliament and Council of Europe, findings from human rights investigations and news reports.

The CIA secretly held detainees at detention facilities in Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania and Thailand in addition to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba according to the report.

In addition, the report said that countries as varied as Azerbaijan, Canada, Denmark, Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malaysia and Sri Lanka also participated through their interrogation, torture or role in capturing terror suspects.

Cooperation could also include permitting the use of airspace for overflight rights of planes carrying terror suspects, the report said.

The findings also discussed reports of a secret prison in Somalia run with CIA involvement, along with a two-month secret detention of a terror suspect aboard a U.S. Navy ship.

The Italian Supreme Court last year upheld convictions of 23 Americans tried in absentia for the kidnapping of a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan.

They were accused by prosecutors of whisking the cleric to Egypt for interrogation as part of a CIA team working with Italian intelligence officials on a terrorism investigation.

Separately, the European Court of Human Rights recently held that the government of Macedonia violated the rights of Khaled El-Masri, a German national who alleged the CIA abducted him from Macedonia and sent him for interrogation in Afghanistan as part of a terrorism investigation.

The U.S. Supreme Court had earlier refused to hear El-Masri's case, after lower federal courts rejected his legal claims.

A consequences of cases like El-Masri, according to Singh, is that "governments will be increasingly reluctant to cooperate with the United States in counter-terrorism operations that could potentially expose them to liability."

While President Barack Obama issued an executive order in 2009 disavowing the use of torture, banned the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects, and ordered the closure of secret detention facilities, the order did not repudiate the practice of rendition.

"In fact, the order was specifically to permit short term detention for rendition purposes," Singh said. "Exactly how rendition is being carried out in practice still remains unclear."

Supporters of the rendition and detention programs say they were an important component of national security policy in the uncertain threat environment following the 2001 attacks.

"All of these plots, everything that was planned after 9/11 never happened," Marc Thiessen, chief speech writer for President George W. Bush told CNN. "Today, people sit back from the security of a dozen years since 9/11 and judge what the CIA. did back then. But the reality is without it, we would not have gone 12 years without a terrorist attack."

In December, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to approve a wide-ranging report on CIA detention and interrogation policies that is still classified.

The issue is likely to be prominent at the committee's confirmation hearing for John Brennan, who has been nominated to be the next CIA director.

He characterized the practice as an "absolutely vital tool" in combating terrorism in a 2005 interview.

But critics of the administration's counterterrorism policy say increased use of armed drones against terrorism suspects, instead of interrogations, comes at the expense of important intelligence gains.

"When you send a drone to kill a terrorist, you not only vaporize the terrorist, you vaporize all the intelligence in his brain and so you might as well be setting file cabinets in the CIA on fire," Thiessen says. "The destruction of intelligence that has taken place under this administration's watch is unfathomable."

 

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