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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The migration of women from the workforce into business ownership is one of the great economic realizations of the American Dream. The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce has grown to more than 500,000 members. Most of our members are small business owners. And we aren't opposing an increase in the minimum wage – we're supporting it.

The number one problem I hear from my members is that the recovery is slow because sales are still weak. Let's not forget that workers are customers too. Raising the minimum wage would put more money in the pockets of low-paid workers who will turn right around and spend it at our local businesses buying necessities they can't afford now. When the minimum wage goes up so do sales at the grocery store, the pharmacy, the repair shops and other local businesses.

Consumer spending drives 70 percent of our economy, and we must repower consumer spending – backed by adequate wages rather than unaffordable debt – if we are going to repower our economy, create jobs and reverse the decline in our middle class. Raising the minimum wage boosts the economy from the bottom up, which is exactly what we need.

Many of my members were once employees themselves. They know that the typical low-wage worker is an adult woman. Think of your waitress or cashiers at chain stores. Think of the childcare worker who takes care of your son or daughter, or the health aide who helps your mother or grandfather. Our members know that raising the minimum wage helps women workers and business owners succeed.

Our members know that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is too low. No one should be paid just $15,080 a year for full-time work. We support the Fair Minimum Wage Act that would gradually raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over three years and then index it for inflation so that it doesn't erode again. The minimum wage would be over $10 today if it had not fallen so far behind the rising cost of living over the last four decades. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would also raise the minimum wage for tipped workers from 50 percent of the regular minimum wage to 70 percent.

Women business owners, who now own 30 percent of businesses nationwide, know that women are disproportionately affected by a low minimum wage. More than 17 million women would benefit from the proposed minimum wage increase to $10.10. It will make a crucial difference for hard working women and families in their struggle to make ends meet.

There are two roads to profitability: the high road and the low road. Businesses can invest in their workforces with decent wages and benefits, and enjoy the benefits of a dedicated workforce with lower turnover, higher productivity and better customer service. Or businesses can pay poverty wages and churn through employees. These businesses may save on immediate payroll but will experience the significant expense of higher turnover, constant recruitment and retraining, higher absenteeism and a less experienced, less productive workforce.

Our members have chosen the high road strategy for building their businesses: they pay better wages and their businesses benefit as a result. They know that this approach attracts more stable, dependable and productive employees. That's not surprising since better wages enable workers to concentrate on their job without worrying about how they will put gas in their cars, pay for child care or keep up with their rent.

In our experience, workers who get paid poverty wages work overwhelmingly for the big chains, not for Main Street businesses. In fact, low-paying big chains count on responsible employers and taxpayers to subsidize them by providing food stamps and other government assistance to their workers who can't make ends meet on poverty wages. Raising the minimum wage would assure taxpayers that businesses are playing fair and compensating workers at responsible levels.

Raising the minimum wage will help small businesses by putting more money in the pockets of our nation's workers, which will boost spending and job creation on Main Street. And it will bring fairer pay to women, who hold the majority of the low-wage jobs that will see a raise.

Margot Dorfman is CEO of the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce.

 

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