05 24 2016
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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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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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It’s the academic version of the world heavyweight championship boxing matches between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in Zaire labeled “The Rumble in the Jungle” and the Philippine’s “Thriller in Manila.” Whatever label you attach to it, the public feud between Professors Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson, two of our most gifted intellectuals, cannot be ignored.

Dyson’s original opus weighed in at nearly 10,000 words – four to five times the length of a typical magazine feature story – and landed plenty of punches to West’s body of work. Dyson charged that Obama’s inauguration marked “a pronounced and decades-long scholarly decline” for West.

He explained, “It is not only that West’s preoccupations with Obama’s perceived failures distracted him, though that is true; more accurate would be to say that the last several years revealed West’s paucity of serious and fresh intellectual work, a trend far longer in the making. West is still a Man of Ideas, but those ideas today are a vain and unimaginative repackaging of his earlier hits. He hasn’t published without aid of a co-writer a single scholarly book since Keeping Faith, which appeared in 1993, the same year as Race Matters.”

Despite other issues addressed by Dyson in his tome, at its core, this heavyweight fight is personal. In the interest of full disclosure, I know both Cornel and Michael and count each of them as a friend.

Except for the length of Dyson’s article, the only thing surprising is that he waited this long to reply to West’s attacks on him. And readers had to wait almost until the end of the article to learn what West specifically said about Dyson that so enraged him.

“In November 2012, West, friend and mentor, one of the three men whose name is on my Princeton doctoral dissertation, let me have it in the national media. It was during an appearance with Tavis Smiley on Democracy Now, shortly after Obama’s reelection. ‘I love Brother Mike Dyson,’ West said. ‘But we’re living in a society where everybody is up for sale. Everything is up for sale. And he and Brother Sharpton and Sister Melissa and others, they have sold their souls for a mess of Obama pottage. And we invite them back to the black prophetic tradition after Obama leaves. But at the moment, they want insider access, and they want to tell those kinds of lies. They want to turn their back to poor and working people. And it’s a sad thing to see them as apologists for the Obama administration in that way, given the kind of critical background that all of them have had at some point.’”

As Dyson wrote, “West was just warming up.” Dyson continued, “After a fiftieth anniversary celebration of the 1963 March on Washington on the National Mall, a celebration Sharpton led and at which I spoke, West argued that Martin Luther King Jr. ‘would’ve been turning over in his grave’ at Sharpton’s ‘coronation’ as the ‘bona fide house negro of the Obama plantation,’ supported by ‘the Michael Dysons and others who’ve really prostituted themselves intellectually in a very, very ugly and vicious way.’ And recently, while promoting Black Prophetic Fire, West argued ‘the Sharptons, the Melissa Harris-Perrys, and the Michael Eric Dysons … end up being these cheerleaders and bootlickers for the President, and I think it’s a disgrace when it comes to the black prophetic tradition of Malcolm and Martin.’”

West responded to Dyson briefly on Facebook, saying: “Character assassination is the refuge of those who hide and conceal these issues in order to rationalize their own allegiance to the status quo.”

Dyson responded to West’s response and pushback from other quarters with a second, 2,623-word article in The New Republic. Regarding his decision to publicly answer West, Dyson, quoting old folks who administered public spankings to children, said, “Where you did it is where you get it.”

Of all the issues facing Black America – police murders, poverty, mass incarceration, drones, unfair trade policies, electronic surveillance, failing schools, unemployment, Wall Street power, and Israeli occupation of Palestinians, to use part of West’s list of pressing issues – a heavyweight fight between two prized Black intellectuals is an unwanted distraction.

Four years ago, I arranged and moderated a conversation between West and Sharpton at a National Newspapers Publishers Association’s convention in Chicago. It was a cordial and respectful conversation. However, it wasn’t long before West personally attacked Sharpton again. So I have little hope that a sit-down between West and Dyson would yield anything beyond a temporary truce.

In the end, West and Dyson will be judged not by the amount of flowery venom they can direct at each other – we’ve had more than enough of that already – but whether they can help find solutions for the array of vexing problems that still plague our people.

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service (NNPA) and BlackPressUSA.com. He is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. Curry can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge and George E. Curry Fan Page on Facebook. 

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