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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Eric Garner memorial

NEW YORK (AP) — It was nearly a year ago when Eric Garner, standing outside a convenience store on July 17, had the encounter with New York City police that led to his death.

The 43-year-old father of six, accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes — sick of being hassled by cops — told police to leave him alone. When he refused to be handcuffed, the 6-foot-2, 395-pound man was taken to the ground.

In cellphone videos viewed more than 2.5 million times, Garner is heard yelling "I can't breathe!" 11 times before he loses consciousness. An autopsy concluded he died in part from neck compressions from the chokehold restraint by police.

Since then, the officer involved avoided criminal prosecution but a federal probe is ongoing. The family has become national advocates for police reform, and the department is reworking how it relates to the public it serves. Here's a look at a year of anger, sadness and change:



Garner's children and grandchildren are doing their best to heal, but it's challenging — and they miss him every day, said his mother, Gwen Carr. She said she's been using her sadness and anger as fuel for reform, and it's helping.

But she's still sad. And angry. And she wants justice for her son.

"I want to see all of those officers stand trial and stand accountable for their gross misconduct," she said.

Carr said the family is planning a memorial in Brooklyn to commemorate Garner's life on the anniversary of his death. She said she can picture her son's response — he'd tell her not to worry too much and not to make a fuss. She said she can picture his face, smiling.

"I want people to be aware of what's happened. I want to make sure they never forget the name of EricGarner," she said. "I'm going to keep that name alive."



Officer Daniel Pantaleo remains assigned to desk duty, doing crime analysis.

Supporters say he's been the target of at least one death threat. As a precaution, the police department has posted patrol cars outside his home and that of his parents on Staten Island around-the-clock. Pantaleo's attorney, Stuart London, said his client still denies intending to harm Garner or even using a chokehold. The officer, despite being demonized by some protesters, also wants get back to full duty.

"He was a dedicated, hard-working cop and, all of a sudden, because of one street encounter, his life has been put on hold," London said. "He understands why, but he's frustrated. It's something he hopes can be cleared up so he can get back to helping the people of this city."



After a grand jury in December refused to indict Pantaleo, a groundswell of requests grew from the public and city officials seeking access to the secret testimony and exhibits shown to the jury by the Staten Island District Attorney's Office.

Public Advocate Letitia James argued the secrecy of the proceedings breeds mistrust in prosecutors and contempt for the justice system. But a judge disagreed and refused to release the proceedings, which are kept secret by law. The New York Civil Liberties Union and other agencies have appealed the decision.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board, the police watchdog agency investigating the misconduct claim against Pantaleo and others, is also seeking the minutes — not for public use but for private investigative reasons. And Garner's family has said it intends to sue the city.



Once the state case fizzled late last year, the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn — then led by current U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch — and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division launched in inquiry into Garner's death to determine whether there's enough evidence to bring a federal case.

In recent weeks, federal investigators have re-interviewed witnesses, including police officers who were at the scene. Despite the video, there's enough ambiguity to the case that a prosecution accusing the officer of deliberately violating Garner's civil rights looks like a long shot. Such cases following grand jury inaction or acquittal at state level are rare, as evidenced by the Justice Department's decision not to file charges against the white policeman who shot to death an unarmed young black man last summer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Even if there's no federal case against Pantaleo, he could still face departmental charges and dismissal.



The New York City Police Department has undergone a series of reforms after the case, including the installation of three-day training for all officers on how to better communicate with the public. More than 20,000 officers were trained on how to de-escalate confrontations in order to avoid physical contact unless necessary.

Police officials said the training was in the works before Garner's death, but was sped up.

Commissioner William Bratton unveiled a new policing plan that puts cops back on the beat, walking their precincts to get better acquainted with shopkeepers and residents. And Bratton has retooled how rookies enter into the academy, eliminating the practice of funneling new cops to the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in favor of spreading them out around the city so they can learn from other officers.

Low-level arrests, like the charge for selling untaxed cigarettes, and summonses have plummeted.



Garner's death, along with the deaths of other black men at the hands of white police officers, has helped catalyze a national movement urging police reform. "Black Lives Matter" and "I Can't Breathe" have become rally cries around the country.

Nationwide, departments are scrutinized like never before when an officer kills a civilian — and some have undergone federal probes. Garner's mother and other mothers of men killed by police pressured Gov. Andrew Cuomo to agree to a special prosecutor to investigate deaths by law enforcement and got results: Cuomo signed an order this week putting the state attorney general's office in charge of such probes.

Carr sees more people of all races protesting the treatment of minorities by police than ever before.

"Before when something happened, it was basically people of color because that's who they were targeting, but now everybody, people of color, different races, they all stand up. Because they see this as wrong," she said. "It's not about black or white, it's wrong or right. They see the things are happening wrong."

"Maybe my son's death brought a certain awareness to them."


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

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