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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TUAL, Indonesia (AP) — All he did was ask to go home.

The last time the Burmese slave made the same request, he was beaten almost to death. But after being gone eight years and forced to work on a boat in faraway Indonesia, Myint Naing was willing to risk everything to see his mother again.

So he threw himself on the ground and begged for freedom. Instead, the captain vowed to kill him for trying to jump ship, and chained him for three days without food or water.

He was afraid he would disappear. And that his mother would have no idea where to look.

Myint is one of more than 800 current and former slaves rescued or repatriated after a year-long Associated Press investigation into pervasive labor abuses in Southeast Asia's fishing industry.

Thailand's booming seafood business alone runs on an estimated 200,000 migrant workers, many of them forced onto boats after being tricked, kidnapped or sold. It's a brutal trade that has operated for decades, with companies relying on slaves to supply fish to the United States, Europe and Japan — on dinner tables and in cat food bowls.

Myint, his family and his friends recounted his story to AP, which also followed parts of his journey. It is strikingly similar to accounts given by many of the more than 330 current and former slaves from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand interviewed in person or in writing by AP.

In 1993, a broker visited Myint's village in southern Myanmar with promises of jobs for young men in Thailand. Myint was only 18 years old, with no travel experience, but his family was desperate for money. So his mother finally relented. When the agent returned, he hustled his new recruits to grab their bags immediately.

Myint's mother wasn't home. He never got to say goodbye.

A month later, Myint found himself at sea. After 15 days, his boat finally docked on the remote Indonesian island of Tual, surrounded by one of the world's richest fishing grounds. The Thai captain shouted that everyone on board now belonged to him: "You Burmese are never going home. You were sold, and no one is ever coming to rescue you."

Myint spent weeks at a time on the open ocean, living only on rice and the parts of the catch no one else would eat. As Thailand's seafood export industry has expanded, overfishing has forced trawlers farther into foreign waters. So migrants are now trapped for months, or even years, aboard floating prisons.

During the busiest times, the men worked up to 24 hours a day. There was no medicine, and they were forced to drink boiled sea water.

Anyone who took a break or fell ill was hit by the captain. Fishermen said that workers on some boats were killed if they slowed down, while others simply flung themselves overboard.

Myint was paid only $10 a month, and sometimes not at all. By 1996, after three years, he had had enough: He asked for the first time to go home.

His request was answered by a helmet cracking his skull.

He ran away. An Indonesian family took mercy on Myint until he healed, and then offered him food and shelter for work on their farm. For five years, he lived this simple life. But he couldn't forget his relatives in Myanmar, otherwise known as Burma, or the friends he left behind on the boat.

In 2001, he heard one captain was offering to take fishermen back home if they agreed to work. So, eight years after he first arrived in Indonesia, he returned to the sea.

But the conditions were just as appalling as the first time, and the money still didn't come. If anything, the slave trade was getting worse. To meet growing demand, brokers sometimes even drugged and kidnapped migrant workers to get them on board.

After nine months on the water, Myint's captain told the crew he was abandoning them to go back to Thailand alone. Furious and desperate, the Burmese slave once again pleaded to go home. That, he said, was when he was chained to the boat.

Searching desperately, he found a small piece of metal to pick the lock. Hours later, he heard a click. The shackles slid off. He dove into the black water after midnight and swam to shore.

Myint hid alone in the jungle in Tual. He couldn't go to the police, afraid they might hand him over to the captains. He had no numbers to call home, and he was scared to contact the Myanmar embassy because it would expose him as an illegal migrant.

He had lost nearly a decade to slavery, and had suffered what appeared to be a stroke, leaving his right arm partly paralyzed. He started to believe the captain had been right: There really was no escape.

By now, he had forgotten what his mother looked like and knew his little sister would be all grown up.

In 2011, the solitude had become too much. Myint moved to the island of Dobo, where he heard there was a small community of former Burmese slaves. He continued to live quietly, surviving on the vegetables he grew.

Then one day in April, a friend told him an AP report on slavery had spurred the Indonesian government to start rescuing current and former slaves. Officials came to Dobo and took Myint back to Tual — the island where he was once enslaved — to join hundreds of other free men.

After 22 years in Indonesia, Myint was finally going home. But what, he wondered, would he find?

The flight to Myanmar's biggest city, Yangon, was a terrifying first. Myint, now 40, was a stranger to his own country.

Making his way to his small village, he spotted a plump Burmese woman.

They exploded into an embrace, and the tears that spilled were of joy and mourning for all the lost time apart. "Brother, it's so good that you are back!" his little sister sobbed. "We don't need money! We just need family!"

Minutes later, he saw his mother, running toward him.

He howled and fell to the ground. She swept him up in her arms and softly stroked his head, cradling him as he let everything go.

He was finally free to see the face from his dreams. He would never forget it again.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE — Myint Naing's story comes from interviews with him, his family, his friends and other former slaves, and through following his journey to his home in Myanmar. He's among hundreds rescued and returned to their families after a year-long AP investigation exposed extreme labor abuses in Southeast Asia's seafood industry. Reporters documented how slave-caught fish was shipped from Indonesia to Thailand. It can then be exported to the United States and cloud the supply chains of supermarkets and distributors, including Wal-Mart, Sysco and Kroger, and pet food brands, such as Fancy Feast, Meow Mix and Iams. The companies have all said they strongly condemn labor abuse and are taking steps to prevent it.

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