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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Catalonian independence supporters react in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday Sept. 27, 2015. Voters in Catalonia participated in an election Sunday that could propel the northeastern region toward independence from the rest of Spain or quell secessionism for years. Secessionists have long pushed for an independence referendum, but Spain's central government has not allowed one, arguing it would be unconstitutional because only it can call such a vote. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Pro-secession parties pushing for Spain's northeastern Catalonia region to break away and form a new Mediterranean nation won a landmark vote Sunday by capturing a majority of seats in the region's parliament, setting up a possible showdown over independence with the central government in Madrid.
With 97 percent of the vote counted, the "Together for Yes" group of secessionists had 62 seats in the 135-member parliament. If they join forces with the left-wing pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy party, which won 10 seats, they will have the 68 seats needed to push forward their plan to make Catalonia independent from Spain by 2017.
But CUP had insisted that it would only join an independence bid if secessionist parties won more than 50 percent of the popular vote. They won only about 46 percent because of a quirk in Spanish election law that gives a higher proportion of legislative seats to rural areas with fewer voters.
Still, Catalonia leader Artur Mas claimed victory as a jubilant crowd interrupted him with cheers and chants of "Independence!"
Many Catalans who favor breaking away from Spain say their industrialized region, which represents nearly a fifth of Spain's economic output, pays too much in taxes and receives less than its fair share of government investment.
"As democrats we were prepared to accept the defeat. Now, we demand that they accept the victory for Catalonia and the victory of the 'yes,'" he said. "We have a lot of work ahead, we won't let you down, we know we have the democratic mandate. We have won and that gives us an enormous strength to push this project forward."
The pro-independence parties had nearly 48 percent of the popular vote, falling just short of a majority because of a quirk in Spanish election law that gives a higher proportion of legislative seats to rural areas with fewer voters. Critics said the pro-independence forces failed to gain legitimacy for their secession push with the election result.
"They have lost the elections as a de facto referendum because they haven't won the 50 percent of the vote. Mas should resign," said candidate Carlos Carrizosa of the anti-independence Citizens party, which won the second-highest number of seats.
Popular Unity Candidacy leader David Fernandez insisted in a television interview that his party "will not be the one to fail independence." But differences are already apparent as party leaders have declared that they want an immediate declaration of independence rather than the 18-month secession roadmap favored by the "Yes" bloc.
Secessionists have long pushed for an independence referendum, but Spain's central government refused to allow it, saying such a vote would be unconstitutional. So the pro-independence parties pitched the vote for regional parliamentary seats as a de facto plebiscite.
The parliament, based in Barcelona, represents the northeastern region of 7.5 million people bordering France that is responsible for nearly a fifth of Spain's economic output.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's ruling Popular Party government says it will use all legal means to prevent Catalonia from breaking away, an exit European leaders have warned would include ejection from the European Union despite claims by secession supporters that a way may be found for an independent Catalonia to stay.
Spain's government has also said it is concerned that if Catalonia tries to break free it would disrupt the fragile signs of economic recovery for the country that has endured unemployment of over 22 percent for several years.
But the ruling party's candidate to lead Catalonia, Xavier Garcia Albiol, acknowledged that Sunday's result was a blow.
"These are not the results that we expected or wanted," he said.
Catalans from both sides of the independence divide are fiercely proud of their Catalan language, which is spoken along with Spanish and was suppressed under three decades of Gen. Francisco Franco's dictatorship.
Jordi Perez, a 50-year-old civil servant said he voted for "Together for Yes" because he feels Spain has historically disparaged Catalan culture and its language.
"I have wanted independence ever since I was young," Perez said after voting in Barcelona. "During three centuries they have robbed us of our culture. We have reached the moment that the Catalan people say 'enough is enough.'"
While the pro-independence camp has organized massive rallies of hundreds of thousands in recent years, those in favor of remaining a part of Spain kept a low profile.
School teacher Sandra Guerrero, 30, said that the election motivated her to vote for the first time — for the anti-independence Citizens party.
"I feel part of Spain. I am proud to be Catalan, but also to be Spanish," she said. "I had never voted before because I was disillusioned with politics. But this time I have because these are important elections."
___
Harold Heckle reported from Madrid. Alan Clendenning contributed to this report from Madrid.

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