05 25 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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JACKSON, Mississippi (CNN) -- A federal judge will decide Wednesday whether Mississippi's only abortion clinic can continue to stay open under a temporary order or whether it should permanently shut its doors under a new state law.

The law, which took effect July 1, requires all abortion providers in Mississippi to be certified obstetrician/gynecologists with privileges at local hospitals. Doctors at Jackson Women's Health Organization, the only abortion provider in the state, travel in from other states, and only one of its doctors is authorized to practice at a nearby hospital.

Supporters of the new law say it is intended to protect women from unscrupulous practitioners, but others say it's just another step to outlaw abortions in the state. Even Republican Gov. Phil Bryant called it "the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned on: to say that we're going to try to end abortion in Mississippi."

Since the law went into effect, the Jackson Women's Health Organization has remained open under a federal judge's temporary order blocking enforcement of the law until Wednesday's hearing. The clinic is trying to comply with the law, according to owner Diane Derzis, but it has been hampered by red tape and the cumbersome application process to get hospital privileges.

That forced the clinic to seek a permanent injunction allowing it to stay open while it fights the law, which Derzis and other opponents say violates Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that struck down many state laws that restricted abortions.

On Wednesday, the federal judge will decide whether the state of Mississippi can begin a 60- to 90-day administrative process to begin closing the clinic for noncompliance with the new state law. The clinic, which has been in operation for eight years, says this would cause it irreparable harm and could result in its permanent closure. Its officials also fear fines and jail time if they choose to stay open during any appeals process, which is why they are looking for relief in federal court.

"We've been able to be with women at a time in their lives where they are in crisis, when they need to have something done and need that support," Derzis said. "That's why it has to be available. It has to be."

Despite some past minor citations, the Jackson Women's Health Organization has a very good record with the Mississippi Department of Health, an official there told CNN.

Mississippi is one of the toughest states for the abortion-rights movement. Its laws require a 24-hour waiting period, as well as parental consent if the patient seeking an abortion is a minor. Seven other states require abortion providers to have hospital privileges, but no other state requires that an abortion provider be an OB/GYN, according to the Guttmacher Institute in Washington, a sexual and reproductive health organization.

"All of that is wrapped in that cloak of conservative religion," said W. Martin Wiseman, director of the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University.

"When you are in this state, you cannot separate an issue from religion. ... The normal rationale used in other states doesn't fly here. You'll find very few legislators -- regardless of whether they are white, black, Democrat or Republican -- who will say 'I'm pro-abortion,' " Wiseman said.

Mississippi state Rep. Sam Mims, a Republican who sponsored the legislation, said the law is intended to protect the health and safety of women.

"I think the intent is to make sure that women who are receiving these abortions are receiving abortions by a professional physician who is certified," he said. "If something goes wrong -- which it might, we hope it doesn't, but it could -- that that physician could follow the patient to a local hospital. That's the intent. And what happens afterwards, we'll have to see what happens."

Bryant signed the bill into law in April after the Republican-dominated legislature overwhelmingly passed it. Bryant said he signed the bill to support women's health, but he also says Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overturned. He has since filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case against the Jackson clinic.

Derzis believes that the real intent of the newly elected Republican majority was to end abortion in the state, not to improve women's health care.

"I love that it's white old men making those statements," she said. "This is not about safety. This is about politics, and politics do not need to be in our uterus."

 

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