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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The 30th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast will be held on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, from 8:30 am —10:30 a.m. at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland.

Keynote speaker is trial lawyer, author and lifelong activist Charles Bonner. Born in Selma, Ala., 16-year-old Bonner joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1963 and participated in sit-ins, marches and other actions for voting rights in the South. Two years later he became a field director for the organization. Bonner was one of hundreds who were beaten on Sunday, March 7, 1965 by Alabama State troopers, rushing the marchers on horseback, and on foot, wielding whips, nightsticks and tear gas on the  Edmund Pettus Bridge during the  "Bloody Sunday" Selma to Montgomery March for the right to vote.

At 19, Bonner moved to San Francisco with a couple of dollars in his pocket and the desire to make a difference. In 1972, he earned a degree in Anthropology at Sonoma State University, finishing his last 12 units studying Kiswahili in a Tanzanian village and obtaining a Certificate of Fluency from the Government of Tanzania. After he returned to the U.S. to continue his education, Bonner received a law degree from the New College School of Law in San Francisco.

Bonner has been practicing law for 35 years and owns a private practice in Sausalito, Calif., with his son, A. Cabral Bonner, a Stanford Law School graduate. 

“My interest in the event is based on the fact that this is in honor of Dr. King and his message of nonviolence, direct action and social action,” Bonner told The Skanner News.

Bonner’s legal career has focused on civil and Constitutional rights, including employment law, police misconduct and environmental issues. Bonner is currently representing more than 300 U.S. Navy sailors against the Tokyo Electric Power Company in a claim related to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power meltdown. The suit claims all of its plaintiffs – who were sent to provide humanitarian aid to Japan after a major earthquake and tsunami -- have experienced severe health problems relating to radiation exposure at the power plant.

Bonner said the current civil rights issue that most concerns him is the shootings that are happening “on an almost daily basis” – both those perpetrated by police and mass shootings carried out primarily by white, Christian men.

“When cops are just shooting people in the street, there is no due process. The fourth amendment right is rapidly vanishing,” Bonner said, adding that the right to privacy and protections against unreasonable search and seizure have also been severely eroded.

 “People who worship the second amendment forget the other provisions of the Constitution and its foundation, the Declaration of Independence,” Bonner said of civilian shootings. “Our right to life is being trampled every day.”

For information about The Skanner Foundation scholarships, awarded at the Breakfast, click here. For information about The Skanner Foundation click here.

 Follow the hashtag #KingBreakfast2016 on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest on the event.

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