05 24 2016
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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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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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Continuing in the tradition of mixing environmental consciousness with young people and art, Seattle's Urban Wilderness Project returns this month with its beloved open-mic storytelling team competitions.

BoUnce is a monthly series held the last Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m. This month it's Wednesday, July 31, at Columbia City's Royal Room, at 5000 Rainier Ave.

BoUnce is the sport of storytelling, requiring skill and improvisation – not unlike basketball, says poet and storyteller Jourdan Keith, who founded the organization and created the art form. Two teams of players face off to win cheers and prize money from the audience.

"BoUnce integrates the arts across genres, racial and cultural lines through the team-style competitions that give LGBTQ, straight, People of Color and white writers and performers a time and place to tell their stories together," Keith says.

The evening begins with a free of charge flash writing workshop at 6 p.m. Sign-ups for those who want to participate in the performance begin at 6:30 p.m. Come with a piece you have already written or create a story, poem or song on the spot based on the theme. July's theme is "Hotter Than …"

The performance itself starts at 7:30 p.m.

Cost is pay as you will – the group literally passes the hat for contributions. No one is turned away for lack of funds, which are shared with the BoUnce winners.

These are the rules of the game: Poets, storytellers, spoken word and hip hop artists join together to make up the storytelling sports teams. All players on each team must perform to qualify for the prize. Youth and adults sign up to perform and are randomly placed with 2- 4 other individuals to form 3 on 3, or 5 on 5 teams or you can come with a team ready to play.

There are four quarters per game. First Quarter: Free Style; Second Quarter: How and Why Stories. Third Quarter: If I'm Lyin', I'm Dyin' ( Liar's Round/ Tall Tales) Fourth Quarter: Improvisation.

Scoring: 3 points max awarded by each judge from the audience per performance.

Criteria: Content, Performance, On Topic. Each month there is a different theme. Maximum performance time is six minutes. Teams are scored by judges from the audience and the winning team shares half the door.

Keith says the project was inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, when segregation brought literary giants, jazz musicians and basketball players together in one venue. BoUnce includes Seattle literary luminaries, vocalists, spoken word artists and storytellers who all come together to participate with others who walk in off the street.

Keith is herself a literary light, with a history of fellowships and awards from Jack Straw, Hedgebrook, VONA, 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs for her choreopoem/play, "The Uterine Files" and "Coyote Autumn," a travel memoir.

As the Urban Wilderness Project gears up for BoUnce, the group is also, through their Wilderness WORKS program, holding 17-day backpacking trips for young people.

Supporters say this group is unique in the region in the way it blends environmental exploration for youth of color with writing, storytelling and literature.

Another key project, Urban Wilderness' Griot WORKS, trains youth and adult participants to become storytellers through workshops and performances in their community.

The idea jumps off from the ancient West African tradition of encapsulating news events, history and personal experiences in the form of stories and songs shared by wise men and women; griots still exist today and are powerful, important members of their communities.

Another major initiative Keith has brought to the organization is embracing an understanding of the water ecosystem in the Puget Sound region.

Perhaps one of the most compelling programs offered by Urban Wilderness is called R U An Endangered Species? Human Estuaries™ Campaign.

Through that campaign's Blue Corps program, running Thursdays through Aug. 14, participants – who applied and were accepted in June – learn to understand the connection between the water in the human body with the water bodies in the natural environment.

The young people take guided tours around local beaches, watch films about the issues involved, then create poetry, stories, visual art and more that are all geared toward preservation and personal health.

Keith is celebrating her 10th year of bringing young people of color from the urban center into the wilderness as a strategy for healing the deep wounds of racism – some of which are connected to the history of lynchings in rural areas.

As part of the experience, participants may work on trail upkeep or in some cases – including Haiku Hikes – write poetry about their trip.

"I had worked for several different organizations that served youth in the community but often they lacked the cultural connections that were required to actually reach the kids they had received funding to serve," Keith says.

"I thought it was critical that we bring in that cultural piece, so you'll see in the environmental work that we do, we integrate storytelling, we integrate the language and the visuals of the people that we're serving, and that are represented in our organization."

For more information contact Jourdan Keith at 206-579-5848 or through www.urbanwildernessproject.org.


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