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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Amanda Fritz with Harriet Tubman STEM families

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz, at left, chats with Jyothi Pulla, at right, and a group of students from the former Harriet Tubman STEM school, during a reception for the city's new Office of Equity and Diversity held in April, 2012. Fritz testified on the school's behalf before the Portland Public Schools board, as did State Sen. Chip Shields and Rep. Lew Frederick, but it was shut down anyway. Photo by Lisa Loving

 

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz announced this week she is running for a third term in office.

The former community organizer and registered nurse is the only official in office who was first elected through a publicly-funded campaign; that system was shut down by voters in 2010 by a margin of less than one percent.

 “I plan to keep doing what I said I would do when Portlanders elected me in 2008, and re-elected me in 2012—prioritizing basic services and spending taxpayers' money wisely,” she said Wednesday in a press statement. “I have been a consistent voice for fiscal responsibility, equity, community involvement, and common sense for the past six years.”

Fritz said that she plans to fund her next campaign in part with the life insurance payment from her husband’s tragic death in a car accident last year.

“It’s money I wish I didn’t have, and I would give it back in a heartbeat if I could spend just one more day with my husband,” she said. “But it’s there, and I know Steve would completely support me as he always did, in choosing to invest it to win re-election in 2016 so I can continue to serve the people of this city we both love.”

Fritz said Wednesday that although she has stated many times that her current term would be her last foray into electoral politics, the death of her husband, Oregon State Hospital psychiatrist Dr. Steven Fritz, changed her mind.

“Prior to Steve’s death in September, many Portlanders had asked me to reconsider and run again. My response was that I believed I would have earned a long and happy retirement with my husband, at the end of eight years in office.

“My life completely changed on September 24th when Steve was killed.

“And now, I have the choice to make something positive out of this horrible loss. I’ve been thinking about this over the past few months. My kids and I went away over the holidays, and I discussed it with them. I want to continue to serve Portland, with their full support and that of Steve’s parents who live in East Portland.”

While Fritz is widely admired by liberal grassroots communities, she has also been under fire from police accountability activists opposed to the City’s appeal of the U.S. Department of Justice agreement regarding final say in court-mandated reviews of the Portland Police Bureau’s compliance with its terms.

Fritz, along with Mayor Charlie Hales, insists that the City Council should have final say; members of the Albina Ministerial Alliance for Justice and Police Reform argue that in the interest of keeping the review process independent of city control, a district judge should have the final say.

The issue is currently before a mediator of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Fritz campaign posted a list of priorities for the rest of her current term and possible future one, including plans to:

●     Fully implement the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement police reforms

●     Address income inequalities and help working families

●     Identify funding to maintain basic infrastructure

●     Fix local campaign financing to reduce undue influence by affluent donors

●     Implement the Parks replacement bond measure

●     Improve equity and opportunity within City government and across all Portland’s neighborhoods and cultural communities

●     Help the most vulnerable people in our community, including people experiencing mental illnesses and people living outside

Her campaign listed accomplishments of the past two years including:

●     Adoption of Protected Sick Leave, now cited by President Barack Obama as a national priority

●     Establishing the independent City Budget Office, which she proposed at the end of 2012

●     Securing ongoing funding to assist survivors of human trafficking, and to train women and youth on strategies preventing domestic and sexual violence

●     Dedicating System Development Charge revenue (fees paid by developers) to build parks in parks-deficient areas of East Portland and SW Portland

●     Passage of the $68M Parks Replacement Bond, with the highest-ever level of support for a Portland Parks funding measure

●     Averting the imposition of transportation funding fees that would have overburdened low-income Portlanders and middle-income families

●     Coordinating the hiring of the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison and appointment of the Community Oversight Advisory Board for the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement on police accountability regarding treatment of people experiencing mental illnesses, in partnership with the Mayor’s office

●     Changing City budget policy to prioritize spending on basic infrastructure maintenance

●     Revising standards for notice to neighbors prior to demolition of single family homes, offering more opportunities for preservation of historic buildings.

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