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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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- In Whitney Houston's hometown, her family plans a private church service, with no public memorial set. In Los Angeles, where she died, there's not even a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for fans to pile flowers. So for the legion of music lovers mourning a global superstar, where do broken hearts go?

Fans who have gathered outside the church where Houston will be eulogized Saturday at an invitation-only service - and outside the funeral home where her body now rests - say they understand why the family wants to keep the world out the best they can. But they also yearned for the chance to fully share in the grief and the remembrance of a native daughter who made it big and made them proud.

Samuel Turner Jackson, of Newark, said he was looking forward to heading down to "The Rock," as the Prudential Center is known. Before, that is, the funeral home announced Tuesday that no public service would be held at the 18,000-seat arena, an option that had been discussed.

The arena, home to the NHL's New Jersey Devils, displayed an image of Houston on a screen outside Tuesday.

"We don't know what the circumstances are, but we're sure that the family did want to share something with the community that she gave so much to," Jackson said. "But they have their reasons, and we're going to do the best we can to pay our respects and to mourn her."

Antonio Ballinger, of Newark, also hoped to attend a public service and "see her off," and said he was saddened to hear he wouldn't get the opportunity.

"But my blessings go out to the family, and I wish them nothing but the best," he said.

The family said Tuesday it had no plans right now for a public memorial. Still, fans in this downtrodden city held out hope.

"Maybe at some point down the road, they might do something," said B.J. Frazier, of East Orange. "It's like they're saying today, they shared her for a long time and they just want her to themselves for now."

Houston, a sensation from her first, eponymous album in 1985, was one of the world's best-selling artists from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, turning out such hits as "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," "How Will I Know," "The Greatest Love of All" and "I Will Always Love You." But as she struggled with drugs, her majestic voice became raspy, and she couldn't hit the high notes.

Houston, 48, died Saturday at a hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., just hours before she was scheduled to perform at producer Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Awards bash. Officials say she was underwater and apparently unconscious when she was pulled from a bathtub.

Authorities said an autopsy found no indications of foul play or obvious signs of trauma on Houston. It could be weeks, however, before the coroner's office completes toxicology tests to establish the cause of death.

Houston was born in Newark and raised in nearby East Orange. She began singing as a child at New Hope Baptist Church, where her mother, Grammy-winning gospel singer Cissy Houston, led the music program for many years. Her cousin, future pop star Dionne Warwick, also sang in its choir.

The family decided that, after sharing Whitney with the city, state and world for more than 30 years, "this is their time now for their farewell," said funeral home owner Carolyn Whigham.

"The family thanks all the fans, the friends and the media, but this time is their private time," she said.

The hearse that carried Houston's body from an airport to the Whigham Funeral Home came into Newark under the cloak of darkness, in the middle of the night, denying local folks another opportunity to grieve publicly.

Police met with church officials Tuesday to discuss logistics and how to handle the large crowds expected to gather Saturday in the streets outside the New Hope Baptist Church, about a mile from the funeral home.

In Newark, perennially ranked among the nation's poorest and most dangerous cities, a public memorial at taxpayer expense is a tricky proposition. New Jersey's largest city, at more than 270,000 residents, laid off more than 160 police officers in November. The dismal school system is relying on a large grant from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for salvation.

And whether the megastar's estate would pick up any slack for a memorial is up for debate. The singer failed to fulfill a $100 million recording deal in 2001 that reportedly called for six records. Since then, only four have come out, including a greatest hits collection that was not released in the United States. She lost two homes to foreclosure several years ago.

Newark's quandary is similar to the decisions Los Angeles had to make when Michael Jackson, another pop superstar brought down before his time, died in 2009. A public memorial at the Staples Center, a professional sports arena, cost taxpayers about $3 million but pumped a million more than that into the local economy through hotel stays, restaurants and other businesses, according to a city report.

In Los Angeles, it has become a tradition that whenever a major celebrity dies, fans lay flowers and other gestures of sorrow and tribute on the deceased's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Houston had no star, leaving Angelenos with nowhere to express their grief.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which manages the Walk of Fame, explained that Houston was selected for a star in 1995, but a date was never requested by the singer's representatives for an unveiling ceremony. That selection expired in 2000, it said, but can be reconsidered if desired by the family.

Gospel singer Marvin Winans, a Grammy Award winner and longtime family friend, has been chosen to give the eulogy in Newark, his son, Marvin Jr., and Winans' office at Perfecting Faith Church in Detroit told The Associated Press.

Winans, in his role as a pastor, married Houston and fellow singer Bobby Brown in 1992; the couple later divorced. The Winans and Houston families have been friends for years, and Houston performed with Winans' siblings CeCe and BeBe, members of one of gospel music's most prominent families.

Houston was especially close to CeCe and BeBe Winans and performed with both. She and CeCe Winans sang "Count on Me," for the movie "Waiting to Exhale," in which Houston starred.

In a show of support for the local community and in lieu of flowers, Houston's family asked that any donations in her memory be sent to the Whitney Houston Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, a public school in East Orange serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Houston attended the school as a girl, when it was named the Franklin School, and regularly visited for many years afterward. On Monday, students held an outdoor service in her memory.

Houston left behind one child, daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, 18, from her marriage to Brown.

Gov. Chris Christie ordered flags flown at half-staff Saturday at state government buildings, describing Houston as a "cultural icon" who belongs in the same category of New Jersey music history as Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Bruce Springsteen.

"Her accomplishments were a great source of pride for the people of the state," he said.

---

Associated Press writers David Porter in Newark and Ryan Nakashima in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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