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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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left, and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy appear at a news conference in Chicago, announcing first-degree murder charges against police officer Jason Van Dyke in the death of Laquan McDonald. Emanuel's promise announced Tuesday, 16, 2016, to release videos of police shootings in no more than three months was intended to bring more transparency to Chicago, which took more than a year to make public the footage of McDonald's death and did so only after being ordered by a judge. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel's promise to release videos of police shootings in no more than three months was touted as a way to bring more transparency to Chicago after the city took more than a year to make public the footage of a teenager's death.

But skeptics question why Chicago needs so long to release the same type of videos that Cincinnati and Seattle already make public within days, if not hours.

That has sown doubts that the new practice will do little to restore the trust that was damaged when the public saw the now-famous video of a white officer firing an entire magazine into Laquan McDonald, who was black, as he appeared to walk away from police.

The policy announced Tuesday calls for all videos to be released within 60 days. The deadline could be extended to 90 days if law enforcement requests a delay.

"That just gives them time to alter the video, do something to it, change the dates, maybe delete some things," said April Cross, who lives in a predominantly black neighborhood on the city's West Side. "That's not giving people in the community faith in the police department at all."

Emanuel, in a statement, said the policy "strikes a better balance of ensuring transparency for the public while also ensuring any criminal or disciplinary investigations are not compromised."

Though most of the attention will be on dashcam videos, the policy also calls for the release of any video — public or private — collected by authorities during investigations, as well as audio recordings and police reports.

The mayor fought against the release of the McDonald video, and recently released emails revealed an intense interest in his office with how the story was playing in the press.

One activist said the policy is more about influencing damaging news coverage than achieving transparency.

"The 60 days is so the administration can get ahead of the story, to give them time to come up with a PR strategy ... and cook up a story on how they are going to massage what is on the video and serve it to the public," said William Calloway, a leader in the legal fight with the city over the McDonald video.
Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who argued for the video's release, doesn't go that far. But he wonders how much good the new policy will do.

"There is no way this is not an improvement. ... But I see it as an insufficient step if the goal is to earn trust," Futterman said. "To establish trust, that means being honest from the beginning, not 60 days, 90 days later."

Sergio Acosta, a former federal prosecutor who helped craft the policy, said the 60-day deadline does that.

"Basically, we wanted to give investigators sufficient time to do what they needed to do in terms of interviewing people and gathering other evidence that would not be tainted by a release that is too early," said Acosta, who is also a member of a task force Emanuel created after the release of the video to make recommendations on how to reform the police force.

The new policy also lets the public know that the days of keeping evidence a secret indefinitely are over, and it puts investigators on notice that the clock is ticking, he said. If police ask for an additional 30 days, those requests must be made in writing and will be made public along with videos and police reports.

Acosta also said he does not expect all the releases to take 60 or 90 days. Some will come out much quicker.

Other big-city departments already get videos to the public far sooner. In Seattle, the police department released dashcam video last month of police shooting a knife-wielding man the day after it happened. It was the same Thursday in Cincinnati, where the day after police shot and killed a man they say was reaching for a gun, they released cellphone video shot from a nearby car in a mere 17 hours.

If the city holds video for two or three months, "people are going to think the video is bad for the cops," said Michele Earl-Hubbard, a Seattle-based attorney and advocate of government transparency. "They know if you wanted to, you could release it sooner (so) they are going to see waiting as hiding something."

The policy calls for the city to create an online portal for video, audio and police reports. But it will be a few months before the portal is up and running, according to Emanuel spokesman Stephen Spector.

The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings and police misconduct cases, will release the information, Spector said.

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