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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crime scene tapeTwenty-first Ward Alderman Howard Brookins recently proposed a $20 million fund be created for victims of Chicago police brutality and questioned if a three-year mandatory sentence for illegal gun offenses is necessary. Brookins' proposed ordinance also would specifically address issues suffered by victims of former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge. The ordinance would provide free tuition at the City Colleges of Chicago; a commission to administer financial compensation to victims with no other financial redress; establish a South Side center that would have medical, psychological and vocational counseling; and require the Chicago Public Schools to teach a history lesson about Burge.

"We have paid out millions in Burge case settlements already," Brookins said. "We need to close this unfortunate chapter in our history and give reparations to those who were victims. This ordinance addresses many of the issues Burge's victims are still facing today." Brookins' ordinance got support from fellow alderman Joe Moreno (1st). Moreno said most of Burge's victims were poor people who did not have a political voice to fight back. One of Burge's victims, Anthony Holmes, spent 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Holmes said the fund would help people like him who have been out of the job market so long, many people consider them unemployable. Holmes added the money would give those released time to build their work skills while still being able to live on their own and get used to society again.

"It's a terrible thing to be released from prison but still live in fear, because you have become institutionalized," Holmes said. "It's why so many guys end up right back inside."

Attorneys representing many of Burge's victims also think the proposed ordinance would give them something they have been asking from the city for years that has nothing to do with money. "This ordinance serves as a formal apology for the Chicago police torture cases," said Jeffrey Mogul, an attorney with the People's Law Office, which represents many Burge victims.

As Emanuel continues to face criticism regarding Chicago's crime rate and murder statistics, he and police Supt. Garry McCarthy have been pushing for a mandatory three-year sentence and a requirement that 85 per- cent of the sentence be served for illegal possession of a weapon conviction. The issue could come up this week in Springfield during the fall veto session. But Emanuel is getting pushback from home as several Black aldermen are questioning if that law would only increase the incarceration rate of African Americans while doing little to reduce crime. The Black aldermen are in line with a group they have been fighting with the National Rifle Association and other groups that have come out and opposed the measure.

"We have had tougher sentences shoved down our throat in the past to no avail. It only seems to increase our residents mistrust of the police and the system itself, which is incarcerating Black men at a high rate," said Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), who said he believes poor Hispanics will be targeted by a tougher law as well.

Ald. Walter Burnett, whose ward boundary cuts across all racial lines, said he believes locking up people for longer periods of time is not the answer. He said he believes the behavior must be changed and said that starts with making employment available where people can be paid wages to raise a family on. He also said more discretion needs to be used before using the approach Emanuel wants. He said many senior citizens carry weapons because it is the only possible way they can defend themselves. He questioned the ethical value and the "spirit" of a proposed law that would sentence people to three years right from the start.

"They are afraid because they don't feel like they are being protected by the police," said Burnett to a group of reporters last week at City Hall. "It's wrong to feel like you have to have a gun. It's wrong to have an illegal gun. But also, it's wrong for us if we mandatorily give a person who made the wrong decision three years who may not have ever done anything to anyone." Brookins, who is emerging a strong political foe to Emanuel and is being talked about privately in some political circles as a potential challenger to the Mayor in the next election said mandatory sentences in the past have failed miserably in the war on drugs. He is afraid the same would happen on gun crimes. Brookins said engaging with unemployed and uneducated citizens and providing them services to improve their lot in life is perhaps a better solution to gun crimes.

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