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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A church lies in ruins, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015, after severe weather caused damage to several buildings in Mississippi's Benton County on Wednesday. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said a 35-person team was out looking for two people unaccounted for in Benton County. At least six people have been killed across the country as fierce spring-like storms hit Wednesday. (AP Photo/Phillip Lucas)

Pastor Melvin Howard of the Mount Olive Full Gospel Church said he came rushing to the area of Jefferson Avenue and 50th Street in Birmingham, Alabama, when he heard the storm hit. Several houses on the block had been destroyed and partially blown into the street. Police and fire crews canvassed the area Friday night as lightning illuminated the scope of the damage.

Howard said his church's building had collapsed but no one was inside at the time.
"We're just there to salvage what we can salvage," Howard said. "Mikes and p.a. systems of that magnitude that we know someone would go in and take," he said.
Lt. Sean Edwards, a Birmingham police spokesman, said several people were taken to hospitals for treatment of minor injuries, but further details were not immediately available.

The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down in southwest Jefferson County at about 5 p.m. Friday.

7:30 p.m.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says it has received reports of another death and another missing person attributed to the severe weather system that is still impacting the state.
In a statement Friday evening, the agency said Coahoma County has now reported one death, and Benton County has reported another missing person.
The agency says this increases the number of deaths to eight, and the number of missing persons to two. There have been more than 60 injuries attributed to the storms.
So far, the storms have caused widespread damage to more than 100 homes and businesses in Mississippi.
Gov. Phil Bryant declared a State of Emergency on Thursday for affected areas of the state.
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7 p.m.
Police in Birmingham, Alabama, say people are trapped in houses along Jefferson Avenue Southwest, where a tornado touch down earlier Friday evening.
According to Lt. Sean Edwards, a Birmingham police spokesman, there are no known injuries at this point.
Weather radar Friday evening showed an intense system along the Interstate 20/59 corridor west of Birmingham, with the storm moving eastward. Flooding was reported in counties throughout the region, as heavy rain continued to fall.
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6 p.m.
The National Weather Service says search and rescue efforts are ongoing in Birmingham, Alabama, where a tornado moved through in the past hour. The service confirms a tornado touched down in southwest Jefferson County about 5 p.m. Friday, moving northeast toward the city of Birmingham.
Meteorologist Jason Holmes said eyewitnesses spotted the funnel and the agency has confirmed its presence. It's part of the same cell that warranted an earlier tornado warning in Tuscaloosa County, southwest of the Jefferson.
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5 p.m.
The National Weather Service confirms a tornado touched down in southwest Jefferson County in Alabama at about 5 p.m. Friday, moving northeast toward the city of Birmingham.
Meteorologist Jason Holmes said eyewitnesses spotted the funnel and the agency has confirmed its presence. It's part of the same cell that warranted an earlier tornado warning in Tuscaloosa County, southwest of the Jefferson.
Details are still sketchy, Holmes said, and nightfall is making it hard for storm spotters to identify tornado activity.
But he said any reports of tornado-like damage in the region will be treated as if it is a tornado.
Holmes said reports of tornado activity in Bibb County, also southwest of Birmingham, have not been confirmed. But the agency is warning resident there and in neighboring Chilton County to take cover.
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3:20 p.m.
Some Mississippi residents spent their Christmas giving rather than receiving this year.
The American Red Cross of North Mississippi's disaster program manager, Nicholas Garbacz (GAR-bach), says members of the Marine Corps helped turn the Eddie Smith Multi-Purpose Center in Holly Springs into a substitute Santa's Workshop.
The marines donated bundles of toys for those who lost everything — including presents under their Christmas trees — during this week's killer storms
Garbacz says dozens of children and their families showed up Friday morning to pick up a toy or two and other items they might need to help on their path to recovery. He says it was a wonderful experience for those giving and for those getting.
Steve Swann, the agency's logistic head, told WMC-TV (http://bit.ly/1kjOSMr) that he and his wife, Audrey, helped with the giveaway.
Van Rayford, who's now in a hotel with his kids and six of his grandchildren, says he's thankful the Swanns and others sacrificed their Christmas so that his family could have one.
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2:10 p.m.
A flash flood watch has been issued for parts of Tennessee following storms that have pounded the Southeast this week.
Meteorologist Krissy Hurley with the National Weather Service in Nashville says a flash flood watch is in effect for parts of southeastern, central and eastern Tennessee until Saturday morning.
In neighboring Kentucky, the National Weather Service in Louisville says a flash flood watch has been issued for central and eastern parts of the state through midafternoon.
The unseasonably warm weather that spawned deadly tornadoes on Wednesday killed six people in Tennessee. Seven people died in Mississippi and one person was killed in Arkansas.
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1:20 p.m.
Parts of central and north Alabama and northwest Georgia are spending Christmas on the lookout for more heavy rain and flooding.
Heavy rain already is falling in areas stretching across Alabama, from the Mississippi state line west of Tuscaloosa to the Georgia state line east of Anniston.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for three counties.
Tornadoes are possible in parts of Alabama north of the I-20 corridor, with other damaging winds of up to 60 mph possible.
Northwest Georgia also continues to receive heavy rain, with flash flood warnings issued.
Residents are advised to stay off the roads. Drivers who do encounter flooded roads are warned to turn around, as authorities say most flood deaths occur in vehicles.
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12:25 p.m.
Authorities say three of the six people killed in storms that rolled across Tennessee were found in a submerged car.
The Columbia Police Department said in a news release that the bodies of three people were found in a car submerged in a Maury County creek Thursday afternoon.
The names of the victims have not been released, but the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said the deceased are a 19-year-old female and two 22-year-old males. The agency says the deaths were weather-related.
The unseasonably warm, severe weather also was responsible for seven deaths in Mississippi and one in Arkansas.
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4:20 a.m.
Some survivors of deadly storms across the Southeast lost their homes and belongings, but say they're thankful to see another Christmas.
Residents of the hardest-hit communities were forced to take stock of their losses Thursday after unseasonably severe weather spawned tornadoes and killed at least 14 people in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.
Barbara Perkins and her husband hunkered in a closet of their home in Falkner, Mississippi, when powerful winds peeled the roof off and sucked up a heavy air conditioning unit. An insurance agent told the couple Thursday their home was a total loss.
Perkins' neighbors weren't as fortunate. Two died in a home nearby.
Despite being newly homeless, Perkins said the tragedy helped her "stop and realize what Christmas is all about."

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