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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Public-comment period has been extended to July 26 for comments on the cleanup of Magnuson Park radioactive contamination.

The extension was requested by state Rep. Gerry Pollet and his citizens' group, Heart of America Northwest.

Comments on the contamination and cleanup may be sent to:

cindy.ohare@navy.mil and ching-pi.wang@ecy.wa.gov.

The proposed plan is available for review here.

Pollet says significant questions have been raised about the levels of radioactivity which would remain in park soils and about the lack of investigation of Lake Washington sediments and groundwater.

He also says the Washington State Department of Ecology says it is planning a public meeting to answer questions and take public comment in July.

Pollet's 46th Legislative District includes Magnuson Park.

High levels of radioactive contamination were identified in the park in 2010, but the public was not notified of the contamination. In March, the Navy informed local elected officials that it planned to start a cleanup using an expedited process which bypasses normal public review and comment.

The Department of Ecology, which has oversight authority for the cleanup, was not informed until mid-April of a cleanup which the Navy planned to start in May.

The extension of the comment period, which was due to close on June 27, comes after dozens of citizens, Heart of America Northwest and Pollet requested more time for public comments due to a lack of access to documents needed to inform comments as required by law.

Pollet said that the Navy is proposing to leave contamination in soil and storm drains at levels hundreds of times higher than allowed under the state's applicable cleanup standard for carcinogens. He said that the public was left in the dark about the contamination for three years before being notified this spring, directly before the flawed cleanup work plan was set to begin.

The Navy has not yet responded to an FOIA request for many records which are needed for a review of the proposal. Seattle Parks has responded that it needs until July 10 to complete a response for records.

Although the comment period was extended, the Navy still intends to "begin mobilizing to the site" the week of July 8, despite not having investigated whether the contamination has reached Lake Washington sediments or groundwater – major concerns for the public.  "Extending the public-comments period and holding a proper public meeting is a promising development that allows more time for park users and local residents to get their questions answered and make their concerns known," Pollet said. "But the Navy, the Department of Ecology, and Seattle Parks must not stop there. The failure to provide a review for residents to consider of health impacts from the contamination which the Navy proposes to leave behind is just one of many shortcomings of this project that still needs to be addressed."

Despite the comment-period extension, the Navy says it is still planning to commence field activity on July 8, three weeks before the comment period ends. That timeline is unprecedented and raises serious questions on whether the Navy has any intention of adjusting its cleanup plan based on the comments. \\"While the news today that the comment period has been extended gives some reason for optimism, it is somewhat countered by the reality that the Navy has not shown much interest in truly meaningful public outreach and input consistent with our state's environmental laws and values from the start," Heart of America Northwest Legal Intern Ryan Strong said. "The decision to start the inadequate cleanup without the proper legal authority before comments are even closed reinforces that view." 

Heart of America Northwest maintains that the Navy does not have the authority to proceed with an expedited process under federal law as it asserts, and that Seattle Parks and the Washington Department of Ecology must step in and take charge of the project under state law. That would apply more protective state standards to prevent additional cancers caused by leftover contamination and provide a much more meaningful public-involvement process consistent with the values of government transparency and accountability. To date, the improper arrangement continues, despite the Navy having issued statements that it recognizes that the state's cleanup law applies.

In 2009-2010, it was discovered that Magnuson Park has a serious radioactive-contamination problem stemming from its use as a Naval Air Station several decades ago. The contamination is in and around buildings 2, 12, and 27 on the northern side of the park, near the popular Arena Sports complex and the Magnuson Athletic Club – though all indications are that areas currently accessible to the public, including the playing surface in Arena Sports, are safe. Contaminants include radioactive radium, strontium, and cesium.

 

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