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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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- An intense battle has erupted between about 1,000 rebels surrounding two buildings filled with Moammar Gadhafi loyalists in the neighborhood next to the Libyan leader's captured compound.

Associated Press reporters on the scene Thursday said rebels were hammering the buildings with heavy gunfire and a huge explosion from the battle scene sent a large plume of white smoke.

Mahmoud Bakoush, a rebel commander at the site, says there are rumors that one of Gadhafi's sons might be in the buildings, but they are unconfirmed. BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) - Moammar Gadhafi is safely in hiding and leading the battle against the Libyan rebels, his spokesman said Thursday, as fierce gunfights broke out in Tripoli while the opposition tried to assert control over the oil-rich country.

Moussa Ibrahim said in a phone call to the Associated Press the longtime dictator was in Libya and his morale was high. Gadhafi "is indeed leading the battle for our freedom and independence" said Ibrahim, who was recognizable by his voice.

Ibrahim refused to say where in Libya Gadhafi was hiding Ibrahim, who had for months appeared daily in televised news conferences since the start of the rebellion six months ago, added he himself was in an undisclosed location in Libya and constantly on the move.

"All of the leader's family are fine," Ibrahim said, adding that top military and political aides remained with Gadhafi.

He said Gadhafi was capable of continuing resistance for "weeks, months and years."

Ibrahim claimed Gadhafi's forces controlled a "good portion" of the capital - a claim that contradicts what reporters are seeing on the ground - and other cities and towns. He also accused NATO of besieging Gadhafi strongholds such as Sirte.

The call came as an intense gunbattle broke out in the Tripoli neighborhood of Abu Salim, a pro-Gadhafi stronghold. Another battle erupted outside the Corinthia hotel where many foreign journalists are staying, as about a dozen rebels with machine guns and an anti-aircraft gun fired on what appeared to be loyalist gunmen shooting from nearby high-rise buildings.

The rebels are struggling to take complete control of Tripoli, four days after they swept into the capital and sparked the collapse of Gadhafi's regime. The autocrat has refused to surrender and has vowed from hiding to fight on "until victory or martyrdom."

The rebel leadership has offered a $2 million bounty on Gadhafi's head, and British Defense Secretary Liam Fox said Thursday that NATO was helping in the search for the longtime dictator.

Fox told BBC Radio 4 that NATO was "providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets to help in the hunt," and had been heavily active in carrying out overnight airstrikes against Gadhafi loyalists, but refused to say if British special forces were involved.

In Brussels, a NATO official said some airstrikes were launched because Gadhafi's forces had been detected trying to restore some of their damaged weapons systems, including surface-to-air missiles, which the official called a "huge threat" to alliance aircraft and humanitarian aid flights.

The official could not be identified under NATO rules. A months-long NATO air campaign, which included about 7,500 attacks on Gadhafi's forces, was key to helping the rebels sweep through the country.

Rebels say one of their key targets now is Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) from Tripoli, but acknowledged that capturing that city would not be easy because Gadhafi's fellow tribesmen were expected to put up a fierce fight. Opposition leaders have said they were trying to negotiate a peaceful surrender of the city.

Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, head of the rebel National Transitional Council, called on people living in loyalist-held towns to join the fight against Gadhafi's soldiers.

"I am appealing to the areas not yet liberated to join the revolution," he told reporters in Benghazi. "There is no excuse for them not to join."

Fawzi Abu Ketf, deputy defense minister of the rebel National Transitional Council, said fighting was raging Thursday outside Bin Jawad, 400 miles (650 kilometers) south of Tripoli, but he had no details. Gadhafi loyalists ambushed rebels advancing toward the city on Wednesday, killing at least 20 of them.

Wednesday's attack was carried out by pro-Gadhafi forces who had retreated from the oil city of Ras Lanouf after rebels captured that city earlier this week, said Ahmed Zeleity, a rebel commander.

The ambush showed that pro-regime forces retain the ability to strike back even as the rebels tighten their control over the nation's capital.

Rebels also have seized several parts of Sebha, another Gadhafi stronghold still holding out, including the main commercial Gamal Abdel-Nasser street, according to rebel official Adel al-Zintani, who is in daily telephone contact with rebel commanders in the desert city.

He said mercenaries from sub-Saharan African nations who had been paid by Gadhafi have fled the city, but loyal soldiers were continuing to hold firm.

Ketf said another challenge was the need to supply troops at the front. "The supply lines will be too long and we are short of funds and supplies," he said.

The humanitarian situation there is increasingly difficult, he said, with lengthy power and water outages.

In Milan, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Italy was preparing to release $505 million in frozen assets in Italian banks, calling it the first payment. Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler and biggest trading partner, has not disclosed the total Libyan assets held there.

Berlusconi made the announcement after meeting with the leader of Libya's rebel Cabinet, the second stop on a European diplomatic tour by Mahmoud Jibril aimed at securing the release of billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets.

The Libyan opposition says they urgently need at least $5 billion of those assets to pay state salaries, maintain vital services and repair critical oil facilities.

The U.N. Security Council, meanwhile, is preparing to vote this week on a resolution that would release $1.5 billion in Libyan assets in U.S. banks that the world body froze to thwart Gadhafi. Analysts estimate as much as $110 billion is frozen in banks worldwide.

Reflecting the continuing unrest in parts of Libya, a Maltese ship sent to evacuate foreigners from Tripoli turned back Thursday after fighting in the Libyan capital made the operation too risky.

The vessel was to evacuate at least 24 foreigners trapped in the Libyan capital, but the Maltese government said the mission was aborted Thursday after it became impossible for people to reach the harbor due to fighting in the capital.

The Geneva-based group the International Organization for Migration, however, said a ship chartered to rescue hundreds of foreigners in Tripoli had managed to dock there, after waiting offshore for days due to fighting.

The group is "very optimistic that we will be able to carry out the evacuation today," spokeswoman Jemini Pandya said.

In more positive news, four Italian journalists taken at gunpoint in Libya were freed Thursday in a raid on the house where they were being held, an official said.

Details of the raid, first reported on Corriere della Sera's website, and who conducted it were not immediately available. The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the four were freed, but had no further details.

The four were taken at gunpoint Wednesday by forces loyal to the regime of fugitive Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. Their Libyan driver was killed.

"They shot the driver dead in front of us. We are fine, but our thoughts are with the driver who died. We have become close friends with him," Claudio Monici of Avvenire, the daily of the Italian bishops conference, told reporters in Tripoli after their release.

The others released include two correspondents from the Milan daily Corriere della Sera and one from Turin's La Stampa.

---

Associated Press writer Rami al-Shaheibi in Benghazi and Donna Bryson in Cairo contributed to this report.

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