05 23 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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Attorney Ben Crump

DAYTONA  BEACH, Fla. – The ex-wife of a DeLand, Fla., man who was run over and killed by a local police car in May wants the Volusia County medical examiner removed or suspended for her conclusion that "there was no evidence that he was struck by the vehicle.''

In an interview, Attorney Ben Crump and his client, Krystal Brown, accused Dr. Marie Herrmann, the medical examiner, of "professional negligence, at worst intentional deceit."

Marlon Brown was run over and killed by Police Officer James Harris during a pursuit on May 8. DeLand is about 15 miles from Sanford, the city that gained global attention in the Trayvon Martin case. Crump is the attorney for Martin's parents. With advice from Crump, Krystal Brown filed a complaint against Herrmann with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Medical Examiner's Commission.

The Florida Courier also has learned that the Florida State Conference of the NAACP reached out to Tom Battles with the Department of Justice about the DeLand case.

"He is aware of the situation and his office is prepared to investigate the death of Marlon," Cynthia Slater said.

As first vice president of the Florida NAACP, Slater said she is responsible for providing oversight to the DeLand NAACP, "so I have been working with the West Volusia Branch on this issue since the beginning."

In a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Medical Examiner's Commission obtained by the Courier, Krystal Brown wrote: "I am requesting that the Medical Examiner's Commission perform an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding Marlon Brown's death and whether Dr. Herrmann violated any professional or ethical regulations or worse engaged in criminal conduct to conceal the truth about what caused Marlon Brown's death."

Brown ex-wife is appalled that a high-speed car chase over a possible seat belt violation led to the death of Marlon Brown, the father of her three children.

According to a police report, Volusia County Sheriff's Deputy John Szabo noticed that Brown was driving on May 8 without using a seat belt. Szabo turned on his emergency lights, Brown took off and a chase began  around 12:36 a.m.DeLand Police Officers Harris and Justin Ferrari joined the pursuit of Brown.  Along the way, Ferrari abandoned the chase.

Harris drove to the left of Ferrari's patrol car and continued the pursuit until Brown abandoned his vehicle and took off running through a vegetable garden.

Mrs. Brown and Attorney Crump believe Brown's death was caused by Harris' car running him over.

The dash cam of the patrol car caught the incident on video, which Mrs. Brown and Crump believe clearly proves their conclusions. A grand jury chose not to file vehicular homicide charges against Harris.

Crump said he didn't know if the grand jury had viewed the video. He said he does know the medical examiner's report was read to the grand jury.

Her ex-husband's death will not go in vain said Mrs. Brown, who already has settled at $550,000 civil lawsuit with the city of DeLand. Harris was fired May 31.

In the termination letter to Harris, DeLand police Chief Bill Ridgway Harris wrote: "I have determined that you have failed to meet probationary standards. Effective immediately, your employment with the City of DeLand has been terminated. This decision was made in the best interests of the department, the city and the community."

Mrs. Brown was married to Marlon for 10 years before they divorced in 2006.

Though the marriage ended, Mrs. Brown said they remained friends. "I still loved him. We talked a couple a times a week," she said.

Mrs. Brown said she had spoken to him the day before the accident.

She said she was home the night of the accident and was contacted shortly after it occurred.

"I went down there right after it happened," she noted.

Brown, who is a licensed nurse, has two degrees, but considers her full-time job raising the couple's three children — Marlon Brown Jr., 12; Armani Brown, 13; and DeAndre Williamson, 23.

No matter what happens, Brown says she vows to speak up to fight against laws governing high-speed chases to prevent what happened to her ex-husband from happening to anyone else.

She noted she has started her crusade working with the DeLand Police Department on their pursuit policy.

"I would like to be the spokesman to end illegal high-speed chase pursuits," she said.

If Brown was not wearing a seat belt, the police did have the right to pull him over.

On June 30, 2009, a law in Florida went into effect that allows officers to cite an individual for driving without a seatbelt on, even if no other violations are involved.

Prior to this law, officers could issue a civil citation for failure to wear a seat belt but could not use this violation as reason to stop a motorist.

Harris not being charged came as no surprise to Crump.

"If the matter was reversed, (and) Marlon was the driver of car, he would have been charged (for running someone over)," Crump noted.

Even though Brown's family has settled a civil suit with the city, Crump said they have the right to continue pursuing criminal charges.

"Neither one should affect the other," Crump said, referring to the criminal and civil cases.

Judging from the video and other evidence, Crump said he is convinced Harris drove in a reckless manner, which led to Brown's death.

"We don't know what the grand jury saw," he said. "All we know is they presented the medical examiner's report. We believe it was inaccurate – evidence shows this."

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