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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Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for one small music promotion business in Portland struggling to bring a prestigious “Gypsy jazz” guitarist on a Northwest tour.

Late Tuesday, promoter Laura Martinez announced that Merkley’s office successfully intervened in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s refusal of a visa for the Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project.

Tour dates in Portland, Kirkland, Wa., and Florence, Ore., originally set for the first week of December are now rescheduled for the first week in January. (see below)

Homeland Security’s visa refusal forced Martinez to cancel tour dates scheduled for this week, on the grounds that Reinhardt and his band are not “culturally unique.”

Martinez says she jumped on the phone to an array of elected officials, including Mayor Charlie Hales, Sen. Ron Wyden and Merkley – but it was Merkley’s staff who came through in convincing federal officials that Gypsy Jazz is worth a touring visa, with the help and support of Robert Manicke, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of German for Oregon and Idaho.

Merkley’s staff did not return requests for comment but Martinez is thrilled at the support she received there and around the region.

“People have said to me, you know, you’re lucky that the venues are helping you and let’s just turn these lemons into some lemonade; everybody’s excited about starting the New Year off with new music,” Martinez says.

“But obviously Lulo was devastated; he sat down and wrote a new song for the U.S.A. called ‘Visa.’

“This is one of the reasons why I didn’t want to cancel the tour and say it is too hard to continue,” she says. “He and the band are just awesome musicians.”

Locking International Artists Out

The list of international performance artists denied performing visas in the United States since the terrorist attacks on the WorldTradeCenter in 2001 is long, and growing.

A report in the New York Times last year said that visa procedures for artists trying to enter the US is “increasingly labyrinthine, expensive and arbitrary,” to the point that it is “making the system a serious impediment to cultural exchanges with the rest of the world.”

Ethnic and cultural performance groups from all over the world, set to perform in communities around the United States, have been denied for an array of reasons and even refused entry after obtaining a visa.

In some cases artists who had been denied in the past were suddenly deemed acceptable.  The former pop singer Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, was denied visas for a few years and then allowed into the country to perform “without incident.”

Another particularly poignant incident involved Cuban “Buena Vista Social Club” artist Ibrahim Ferrer, a triple Grammy-winner who was among a group of musicians denied entry to perform and collect a special award at the 2004 Grammys after Homeland Security claimed he was a “security risk.”

The 76-year-old performer died the following year, insisting publically that he was “not a terrorist.”

The Guardian newspaper in England reported at that time that Cuban and Muslim artists seem disproportionately affected.

“Overall, according to Homeland Security Department records, requests for the standard foreign performer’s visa declined by almost 25 percent between 2006 and 2010, the most recent fiscal year for which statistics are available,” the New York Times reported in 2012. “During the same period the number of these visa petitions rejected, though small in absolute numbers, rose by more than two-thirds.” 

Painful History

While “Gypsy jazz” music can be lighthearted and danceable, many listeners have no idea the depths of pain it originates from.

For generations, millions of enthusiastic jazz fans around the world have thrilled to the music of the legendary French “Gypsy jazz” guitarist Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), whose too-short life spanned the first half of the 20th century. In the 1930s he originated the name “Gypsy jazz” and helped inspire the French term ‘Le Jazz Hot.’

Historically, Django Reinhardt’s contribution to music – and that of his family – is even more remarkable because it, and he, survived the Nazi Holocaust that swept through France and most of Europe, as well as North Africa.

Historical accounts show that the Nazi troops loved jazz music and especially in Berlin and Paris, spared Black and “Gypsy jazz” performers from arrest, internment in concentration camps, forced sterilization and in some cases the gas chambers as long as they played music within specific written guidelines.

Today, Django’s grand-nephew, German guitarist Lulo Reinhardt, is taking the music world by storm, mixing “Gypsy” and “jazz” into a multilayered world-beat vision incorporating Brazilian and Flamenco influences within his band, the Lulo Reinhardt Latin Swing Project.

Reinhardt and his family embrace the term “Gypsy jazz,” but generally the term “gypsy” is considered an insult. In many areas the name “Roma” is used instead to refer to these communities, but in truth there are a handful of different ethnic groups that are considered “gypsy.”

Django Reinhardt himself came from the French community known as the “Manouche;” as a German citizen, Lulo considers himself part of the related community called “Sinti,” which originated in Central Europe.

Lulo’s discography includes 10 albums, two of which were recorded live. His professional recording career started when he joined a jazz sextet in Germany at the age of 12.This month he celebrates 40years as a live jazz performer. In Germany on Dec. 14 he plans a gala concert featuring his expansive guitar collection, Sinti memorabilia and a documentary about his celebrated performing family, “Newo Ziro.”

Lulo Reinhardt is so beloved by guitarists that Saga Instruments, a San Francisco manufacturer, collaborated with him to design the Lulo Reinhardt Model Gitane 310 guitar in his name.

In fact, Martinez says that when she struggled to find a good-quality amp for Reinhardt’s tour, Erik Lind of the Montreal-based AER amp distributor Musiquip jumped to the rescue. Martinez says within hours the company arranged for a brand new AER Domino 2 amp to be delivered to Portland and signed on Reinhardt as one of their signature artists.

For more information on Reinhardt’s Northwest tour, go to World Fusion Events online or visit Lulo Reinhardt's official website here

Lulo Reinhardt concert dates are now:

Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, Florence Event Center, Florence, Ore., www.eventcenter.org

Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, Kirkland Performance Center, Kirkland, Wa., www.kpcenter.org

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, www.albertarosetheatre.com

Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, Vie De Boheme, Portland, www.viedebohemepdx.com. This event will be a special evening allowing patrons to meet and greet Lulo and his band.

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