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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Mothers of kidnapped Chibok girls

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — They have been gone a year now, the hundreds of girls abducted by Islamic militants from their school in northeastern Nigeria.

And while the cry to "Bring Back Our Girls" remains a worldwide cause, the new president Tuesday would not repeat his predecessor's failed promise to find them — only that they won't be forgotten.

A solemn march was held to remember the 219 girls seized from their boarding school in Chibok by gunmen from the Boko Haram extremist group. In Nigeria's capital of Abuja, 219 girls paraded in the streets, with each carrying a placard bearing the name of a kidnap victim.

"We believe the girls are still alive," said Dr. Allan Manasseh, the brother of missing 18-year-old Maryamu Wavi, in an interview with The Associated Press.

But it was clear that hope has dwindled a year after the April 14-15 mass abduction.

President-elect Muhammadu Buhari said he must be honest about the prospects of getting the missing girls back to their families.

"We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown," Buhari said in a statement. "As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them."

Listen to a BBC radio interview with Mrs Ngozi Onwuka, from the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria and the Church of Scotland's acting Africa & Caribbean Secretary, Carol Finlay, here:   http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05psb14

The statement by Buhari, a former military ruler of Nigeria who was elected last month and takes over May 29, is a marked departure from President Goodluck Jonathan. After Jonathan's administration initially denied there had even been a kidnapping, he made repeated hollow promises that the girls would be rescued.

Campaigners have replaced the slogan of "Bring Back Our Girls — Now and Alive!" with a new one: "Never to be forgotten."

Still, some of the marchers Tuesday held the new leadership accountable.

"We are here to appeal to the government to do better. We want our girls now and alive," said Solamipe Onifade, 16.

A vigil was held after sundown, with people holding candles and singing.

The gunmen initially seized 276 girls, but several dozen managed to escape as the militants transported them to the Sambisa Forest, with some clinging to the branches of trees from a moving open-back truck. Those still missing may have been split up. Witnesses said some girls were taken across the border into Cameroon.

Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, claimed they had converted to Islam and been married off to his fighters.

A negotiator said that at least three died in the early days, from a snake bite, malaria and dysentery. Then, Jonathan refused to negotiate with Boko Haram, who were offering to exchange the girls for detained insurgents.

The girls became the focus of a global campaign soon after their abduction. U.S. first lady Michelle Obama had said she was "outraged and heartbroken" about the kidnapping and also posted a picture of herself holding a sign reading "#BringBackOurGirls" on her official Twitter account in May 2014.

At least 2,000 women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram since 2014, forced to become sex slaves and fighters, Amnesty International said Tuesday. Unknown hundreds of boys and young men also have been kidnapped and forced to fight for Boko Haram. Those who refuse are killed.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. has helped Nigerian security forces counter the threat by Boko Haram and also helped look for the kidnapped girls.

"Unfortunately, this kind of kidnapping story is one that is becoming all too familiar in Nigeria," Earnest said.

"We continue to be very concerned about that and we continue to be supportive of the efforts of Nigerians to counter the depraved tactics that are employed by Boko Haram," he said. Earnest added that the U.S. is engaged in a "substantial number of operations to try to address the many needs of the Nigerian people, particularly as they try to counter the threat that's posed by Boko Haram."

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said a team from U.S. government agencies was in Abuja "to help both in the search, providing training, equipment, to try and help them find not just the girls, but all of those kidnapped by Boko Haram."

A hopeful message addressed to the captives from Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai promised scholarships for the girls and said they must never lose courage.

The 17-year-old Pakistani activist who stood up to the Taliban chastised Jonathan's administration and other countries.

"Nigerian leaders and the international community have not done enough to help you. They must do much more to help secure your release," she said.

Malala said she and millions of people around the world stand in solidarity with "the Chibok girls."

"We cannot imagine the full extent of the horrors you have endured. But please know this: we will never forget you. We will always stand with you. Today and every day, we call on the Nigerian authorities and the international community to do more to bring you home."

In Chibok, dozens of family members and supporters marked the anniversary by gathering at the remains of the school, in front of a burned out and roofless classroom. Young girls held handwritten signs demanding "Bring back our girls — Now and Alive."

One mother, Mariam Abubakar, told the crowd she was in disbelief that the government had been unable to rescue the girls during a whole year.

On Monday, a few dozen people marched in Abuja, their mouths shut by red tape.

"When your voice is taken from you, which is what the terrorists have done to our daughters, you can't speak, you don't exist. But our girls exist," said organizer Oby Ezekwesili, a former education minister.

The Empire State Building in New York was lit up Tuesday night in the campaign's purple and red colors to symbolize its call for an end to violence against women and girls.

When Boko Haram started using young women and girls as suicide bombers last year, many wondered whether some were the Chibok girls. More such speculation followed when the insurgents beheaded women they had forced into marriage as they fled a military offensive on the border town of Bama last month.

Several of the girls' parents have died — some killed in Boko Haram attacks, some of illnesses like high blood pressure that residents blame on the trauma related to their lost daughters.

The Boko Haram attacks continue despite a multinational military offensive that has ousted the Islamic extremists from all major towns in northeastern Nigeria in recent weeks. Scores held captive by Boko Haram have been freed. But there has been no whisper of the girls.

Associated Press writers Chika Oduah and Lekan Oyekanmi in Abuja, Ibrahim Abdulaziz in Yola and Matthew Lee and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

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