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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President Barack Obama boards Marine One

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — President Barack Obama is bringing words of comfort and sympathy to grieving families of victims of the shooting rampage in Roseburg, Oregon, muting his message about the need for new laws to stem gun violence as he visits an area where firearms are popular.

Obama will talk with family members Friday at the start of a four-day West Coast trip. Eight community college students and a teacher were killed before the gunman fatally shot himself in front of his victims after he was wounded by police.

Dozens of demonstrators had gathered near the local airport as Obama arrived to protest his call for strict gun laws.

Staunchly conservative Douglas County is bristling with gun owners who use their firearms for hunting, target shooting and self-protection. A commonly held opinion in the area is that the solution to mass killings is more people carrying guns, not fewer.

"The fact that the college didn't permit guards to carry guns, there was no one there to stop this man," said Craig Schlesinger, pastor at the Garden Valley Church.

Referring to potential protesters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said: "Those individuals have nothing to fear. The fact is the president has made clear that the goal of his visit is to spend time with the families of those who are so deeply affected by this terrible tragedy."

A visibly angry Obama said after the shooting that thoughts and prayers are no longer enough and that the nation's gun laws needed to be changed.

Some of the most poignant moments of Obama's presidency have occurred in his role as consoler in chief. He led the grieving in Charleston, South Carolina, in singing "Amazing Grace." He read the first names of the 20 elementary school students killed in Newtown, Connecticut, and asked how the nation can honestly say it's doing enough to keep its children safe from harm.

This time, the White House says, the meeting is private.

Obama was already scheduled to travel to the West Coast when the shooting occurred, and the White House adjusted his schedule to include Roseburg.

The shooting has sparked new talk about gun violence, though history suggests that prospects for enacting legislation are highly unlikely. Republican lawmakers are talking about the need to take up legislation designed to improve mental health care. Democrats are pitching the formation of a special committee to investigate gun violence, similar to what the GOP-led House established to investigate Planned Parenthood and the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.

"No proposal is going to stop every shooting, but we can come up with solutions that stop some tragedies," said Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson of California, the leader of the proposal for a special committee.

Earnest has cited requiring background checks for all firearms purchases at gun shows "as the kind of obvious thing that we believe that Congress should do."

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Associated Press writers Jonathan J. Cooper and Gosia Wozniacka in Oregon contributed to this report.

 

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