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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Protesters in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) — Police in riot gear made numerous arrests overnight as protesters took to the streets after a judge found a city police officer not guilty in the deaths of two unarmed black suspects killed in a barrage of police gunfire.


Michael Brelo, 31, faces administrative charges while remaining suspended without pay after his acquittal Saturday on two counts of voluntary manslaughter, but he no longer faces the prospect of prison. The anxious city now awaits a decision on criminal charges against a white officer in the fatal shooting of a black 12-year-old boy with a pellet gun.


Brelo and 12 other officers fired 137 shots at a car with Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams inside it on Nov. 29, 2012. The shooting occurred at the end of a 22-mile-long chase involving more than 100 Cleveland police officers and 60 cruisers after Russell's Chevy Malibu backfired while speeding by police headquarters. During the chase, an officer reported that he thought he'd seen Williams with a gun.

At the end, police mistook police gunfire for shots from Russell's car. Brelo fired 49 of those shots that night, but it was the final 15 fired into the windshield while he stood on the hood of Russell's car that led his indictment and a four-week trial. He faced up to 22 years in prison if convicted on both counts.


The shooting helped prompt an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice that concluded Cleveland police had engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive use of force and violations of people's civil rights.


Angry but mostly orderly protests followed Saturday's verdict. More than a dozen protesters were arrested Saturday night for failing to disperse from an alley in the city's Warehouse District on downtown's west side, deputy police chief Wayne Drummond said. Several other people were arrested elsewhere downtown.


The first protest formed outside the Justice Center Saturday morning while Judge John P. O'Donnell read from his 35-page verdict.
A larger protest of around 200 people gathered at noon near where Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty lives. Both protests later merged at a recreation center where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by a rookie patrol officer last November. While that demonstration became boisterous, with Eugene Rice angrily calling for justice for his grandson, it remained peaceful. An investigation into the Tamir Rice shooting is nearly complete and will be given to the prosecutor's office to decide whether to pursue criminal charges.


Alicia Kirkman, 47, of Cleveland, said she joined the march in honor of her son, killed in a police shooting eight years ago.
"I'm just so mad we never get justice from any of the police killings," said Kirkman, who said she settled with the city after her son's death but no charges were filed.


The judge said in his ruling that he wouldn't "sacrifice" Brelo to the wave of anti-police sentiment that has swept across the nation in the wake of other police in-custody deaths. While protests in cities like Baltimore, New York City and Ferguson, Missouri, have erupted into violence, the demonstrations in Cleveland didn't escalate.


The judge's decision to acquit Brelo focused on which shots killed Russell, 43, and Williams, 30, two homeless drug addicts with a long history of mental illness. Four of the 23 gunshot wounds to Russell and seven of Williams' 24 wounds were believed to have been fatal. O'Donnell said that while testimony showed Brelo fired some of the fatal shots, other officers fired kill shots as well.


A grand jury charged five police supervisors with misdemeanor dereliction of duty for failing to control the chase. All five have pleaded not guilty and no trial date has been set.


Prosecutors had argued that when Brelo stood on the hood of the Malibu that he meant to kill Russell and Williams instead of containing a threat to his and other officers' lives. O'Donnell ruled that even the last 15 shots were justified based on Brelo's belief that someone inside the car had fired at police at the beginning, middle and end of the chase.


"Officer Brelo risked his life on that night," said Brelo's lead attorney, Patrick D'Angelo, after the verdict. McGinty said he respected O'Donnell's decision, and added that the case would prevent police violence.


In addition to the Tamir Rice case, the county prosecutor's office is looking into the death of a black woman who died in police custody while lying face first on the ground in handcuffs. The family of Tanisha Anderson, 37, has sued the city of Cleveland and the two police officers who subdued her. They say she panicked Nov. 12 when officers put her in the back of a patrol car after they'd responded to a call about Anderson having a mental health crisis.


Russell's sister, Michelle, said Brelo would ultimately face justice, despite the judge's decision. The city of Cleveland has paid the families of Russell and Williams a total of $3 million to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit.


"He's not going to dodge this just because he was acquitted," Michelle Russell said. "God will have the final say."


___
Associated Press writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins, John Seewer in Toledo and John Coyne contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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