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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RAS LANOUF, Libya (AP) -- Libyan warplanes launched multiple airstrikes Monday on opposition fighters regrouping at an oil port on the Mediterranean coast, the second day of a harsh government counteroffensive to thwart a rebel advance toward Moammar Gadhafi's stronghold in the capital Tripoli.

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President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its NATO allies are still considering a military response to the violence and Britain and France were drafting a U.N. resolution that would establish a no-fly zone.

The anti-government forces trying to oust Gadhafi say they will be outgunned if the regime continues to unleash its air power on them and are pleading for the international community to impose a no-fly zone to protect them from more strikes. However, they oppose foreign troops on the ground.

"We don't want a foreign military intervention, but we do want a no-fly zone, said rebel fighter Ali Suleiman. "We are all waiting for one," he added. The rebels can take on "the rockets and the tanks, but not Gadhafi's air force" he said.

The government has managed to halt for now a rebel advance that began last week when fighters ventured beyond the opposition-controlled eastern half of the country.

The rebels are now struggling to maintain supply lines for weapons, ammunition and food, with many living off junk food, cookies and cans of tuna. They are waiting for rocket launchers, tanks and other heavy weapons to arrive with reinforcements from their headquarters in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has moved military forces closer to its shores to back up its demand that Gadhafi step down. But enforcing a no-fly zone could take weeks to organize, and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has noted that it must be preceded by a military operation to take out Libya's air defenses. British Foreign Minister William Hague said Sunday that a no-fly zone over Libya is still in an early stage of planning and ruled out the use of ground forces.

Obama said the U.S. will stand with the Libyan people as they face "unacceptable" violence. He said he has authorized millions of dollars in humanitarian aid. He also sent a strong message to Gadhafi, saying he and his supporters will be held responsible for the violence there.

Hague told the House of Commons Monday that Britain is "working closely with partners on a contingency basis on elements of a resolution on a no-fly zone." A British diplomat at the U.N. stressed that the draft resolution is being prepared in case it is needed but no decision has been made to introduce it at the Security Council. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the draft has not been made public.

Libya appears to be sliding toward a civil war that could drag out for weeks, or even months, as rebels try to oust Gadhafi after 41 years. Resorting to heavy use of air attacks signaled the regime's concern that it needed to check the advance of the rebel force toward Sirte - Gadhafi's hometown and a bastion of support for the longtime leader.

Anti-Gadhafi forces would get a massive morale boost if they can blast through Sirte, a major obstacle on the march toward Tripoli.

Libya's main population centers lie along the country's main east-west highway on the Mediterranean coast and the struggle for control of the country is being waged between the government and the rebels trying to push the front line westward toward the capital.

A force estimated at 500 to 1,000 fighters was pushing steadily down the highway toward Tripoli when it was driven out of the town of Bin Jawwad, 375 east of the capital, on Sunday by pro-Gadhafi forces using helicopter gunships, artillery and rockets. The fighting killed at least eight people and wounded 59, according to medical officials.

The rebels regrouped about 40 miles to the east in Ras Lanouf, where MiG fighters circled over rebel positions Monday before launching airstrikes behind their front lines in the morning and afternoon.

In and around Bin Jawwad, pro-regime forces were running patrols Monday and there were minor reports of skirmishes with rebels on the outskirts.

One strike hit a road near the town's only gas station, destroying at least three vehicles and wounding at least two people.

The opposition also holds two main battleground cities close to Tripoli, and the government appears to have solidified control Monday of one of them - Zawiya. Just 30 miles outside Tripoli, Zawiya had been the city closest to the capital in opposition hands.

A Zawiya resident said government tanks and artillery opened fire on rebels around 9:00 am and the attack hadn't stopped when he left the city at 1:30 p.m. All entrances to the city were under government control and the rebels had been driven out of the city's central Martyr's Square and a nearby mosque by the heaviest attack in several days.

"The tanks are everywhere," he said. "The hospital is running out of supplies. There are injured everywhere who can't find a place to go."

Rebels also held much of Misrata, to the east of Tripoli about halfway to Sirte. But Valerie Amos, United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said in a statement that the Benghazi Red Crescent reported that Misrata was under attack by government forces again Monday. There have been repeated government attempts to regain control of Misrata.

"Humanitarian organizations need urgent access now," she said. "People are injured and dying and need help immediately."

The uprising against Gadhafi is already longer and much bloodier than the relatively quick revolts that overthrew the longtime authoritarian leaders of neighboring Egypt and Tunisia.

Unusually heavy and sustained shooting that erupted before dawn in Tripoli on Sunday gave rise to rumors and reports that there had been an assassination attempt against Gadhafi by someone inside the fortress-like barracks where he lives.

But a government spokesman, Abdel-Majid al-Dursi, denied it on Monday, calling the claims "baseless rumors."

Hundreds if not thousands of people have died since Libya's uprising began, although tight restrictions on media make it near impossible to get an accurate tally. More than 200,000 people have fled the country, most of them foreign workers. The exodus is creating a humanitarian crisis across the border with Tunisia - another North African country in turmoil after an uprising in January that ousted its longtime leader.

The turmoil is being felt more broadly still in the form of rising oil prices. Libya's oil production has been seriously crippled by the unrest.

The conflict in Libya took a turn late last week when government opponents, backed by mutinous army units and armed with weaponry seized from storehouses, went on the offensive. At the same time, pro-Gadhafi forces have conducted counteroffensives to try to retake the towns and oil ports the rebels have captured since they moved out of the rebel-held east.

 

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