05 24 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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Forest Whitaker is a distinguished artist and humanist. He is the founder of PeaceEarth Foundation, co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace, and the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation. A versatile talent, Forest is one of Hollywood's most accomplished performers, receiving such prestigious honors as a Best Actor Academy Award for his performance in The Last King of Scotland, as well as a Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for Bird.

Over the past decade, he has dedicated most of his time to extensive humanitarian work, feeling compelled by his social awareness to seek ways of using the film medium as a means of raising peoples' consciousness. To that end, he produced the award-winning documentary Kassim the Dream, which tells the touching story of a Ugandan child soldier turned world champion boxer; Rising from Ashes, which profiles Rwandan genocide survivors' attempt to qualify for the Olympics riding wooden bicycles; Serving Life, which focuses on hospice care for prisoners at Louisiana's Angola Prison; and the Peabody Award-winning Brick City, which offers an unvarnished peek at inner-city life in Newark, N.J.

Whitaker was the 2007 recipient of the Cinema for Peace Award, and he currently sits on the board of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. In addition, he serves as a Senior Research Scholar at Rutgers University, and as a Visiting Professor at Ringling College of Art and Design, too.

Besides the aforementioned films, Forest's impressive resume' includes The Great Debaters, The Crying Game, Panic Room, Platoon, Ghost Dog, Mr. Holland's Opus and Good Morning Vietnam. Here, he talks about his latest outing as the title character in Lee Daniels' The Butler, a decades-spanning sage chronicling the life and career of an African-American who served eight presidents in the White House.      

Kam Williams: Hi Forest, I'm honored to have this opportunity.

Forest Whitaker: Oh, no, it's a pleasure just to talk to you, Kam.

KW: What interested you in The Butler?

FW: It's an amazing story. And the script was beautiful in the way it followed this man who served eight presidents and portrayed his love for his family, as well as the love between him and his son. So, I saw it as offering a great challenge and opportunity. And I thought that Lee [director Lee Daniels] would do a wonderful job with the script as a filmmaker, so that was an attraction as well. And I had wanted to work with Oprah, so all of that came together to afford me this tremendous opportunity.   

KW: Did the film's father-son relationship resonate with you when you reflected upon your relationship with your own dad?

FW: Yes, it's hard to always understand and appreciate your father when you're coming up, especially since my dad had three jobs when we moved to L.A. So, he was always working. Plus, coming from the South, from Texas, he had a certain way of disciplining that made it hard for me to appreciate, at the time. You don't fully appreciate the reasons why or the sacrifices that were being made until a later age. In some ways it did parallel the journey of ultimate appreciation that we see in the movie of me towards my son and my son towards me.

KW: How did you prepare for the role of Cecil Gaines?

FW: I trained with a butler coach for quite some time. And I studied the history and, of course, tried to make that a part of my own emotional understanding of the time period and the presidency. In terms of the aging process, I particularly had to work on movement and mannerisms. I also tried to understand the dialect and speech patterns. And I worked on how I could communicate my thoughts more clearly without words. I wanted to fill myself up enough so that you would be able to feel my thoughts, even in scenes where I would say nothing.

KW: That hard work paid off. I cried about a half-dozen times during the film.

FW: It's very moving because it deals with so many primal issues: loss, degradation, even joy. Lee painted a picture that allows you to get in touch with many different emotions.

KW: True. Attorney Bernadette Beekman asks: What was it like acting opposite Oprah?

FW: Oprah just really committed completely to the movie. She was startling, at times, in how deeply she was into the authenticity of the scenes. For instance, there was a big emotional moment that wasn't shown completely in the film where she screamed and fell to the ground, letting out a piercing wail that went through my bones. It had me trying to figure out how to comfort her, because it's hard to find the proper emotion to respond to pain that overwhelms.



KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier says: You are a great director, in addition to of course being an excellent actor. Personally, I love biopics, like where you played Charlie Parker in Bird. Is there a story about an icon that you would like to direct and star in?

FW: Yes, there's a film I've been developing about Louie Armstrong that I'd like to direct and star in. I wrote the script and really believe in it. I think it's something I'll probably do next year, although I haven't made a final decision about whether I should direct it or not. It's a really special story.

KW: Leah Fletcher asks: How did it feel, when you were just breaking into the industry, to receive such a glowing acknowledgment from a seasoned and respected actor such as Sean Connery for your work in The Crying Game? 

FW: Leah, I didn't even know 'til now that Sean Connery had commented about my work in The Crying Game. A lot of Brits believe that I was British for quite some time after that film. So, I can see how Sean Connery might have said something. That's nice.

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles says: You produced the extraordinary Fruitvale Station. Is this a new role you see for yourself?

FW: The truth is, I produce one or two movies every year, both independent and studio films. I'll continue to produce. In fact, I have a documentary that just came out about the Rwandan National Cycling team called Rising from Ashes.

KW: I loved it!

FW: Oh, you already saw it. Great!

KW: You can check out my review at Rotten Tomatoes. Bernadette also says: You are a true Renaissance Man. Besides acting, you write, direct, narrate and produce. You're like a latter-day Oscar Micheaux.

FW: Oscar Micheaux reshaped the Black Film Movement. Those are some great shoes to fill. I can only take that as a compliment. Thanks, Bernadette. That gives me something to live towards, because it's a lot.

KW: Director Rel Dowdell, who has made two low-budget films, including Changing the Game last year, would like to know how he can pitch you about a project.

FW: I have my company, Significant Productions, in Los Angeles. And I also have a company called JuntoBox Films Select, a crowd-sourcing film site which we produce movies out of. We just finished one with a first-time filmmaker, called Sacrifice. And we're about to do another one in a month or so. Rel can reach out to either one of those companies.

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

FW: [Chuckles] I can't think of one.

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?

FW: Two things: The success of my children, and the work for social justice that I do with my foundation.

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

FW: I see someone who is continuing to try to build his connection with the rest of the world.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

FW: That everyone could recognize themselves in the face of the other people that they see.

KW: The Kerry Washington question: If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

FW: Either a leopard or an eagle.

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

FW: My dad teaching me to ride a bike at about 5 or 6.

KW: The Anthony Mackie question: Is there something that you promised to do if you became famous, that you still haven't done yet?

FW: No, and my goals have expanded.

KW: The Viola Davis question: What's the difference between you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?

FW: I'm the same person, just with different clothes on. I'm the same. 

KW: The Anthony Anderson question: If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?

FW: I'd be a spreader of love.

KW: The Gabby Douglas question: If you had to choose another profession, what would that be?

FW: I'd either be a natural healer or a teacher.

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?

FW: Solutions Focus.

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share? 

FW: Passion!

KW: Harriet also asks: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you'd like to star in?

FW: The Audrey Hepburn-Albert Finney film, Two for the Road. 

KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

FW: Always tell yourself that you want to continue to grow, and you'll be more connected to growth. 

KW: The Jamie Foxx question: If you only had 24 hours to live, how would you spend that time?

FW: With my family.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Forest, and best of luck with The Butler, and I hope to talk to you about your upcoming independent project.

FW: Sure, Kam, and thanks again for supporting Rising from Ashes. 

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