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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Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, speaks at the NBC, YouTube Democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. To the left is Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton .(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernie Sanders airbrushed the complexities of trying to overhaul health care all over again and Hillary Clinton offered a selective reading of her rival's record on gun control in the latest Democratic presidential debate.

 

A look at some of their claims and how they compare with the facts:

 

CLINTON on Sanders' proposal for a taxpayer-paid health care system: "I don't want to see us start over again with a contentious debate."

 

SANDERS: "We're not going to tear up the Affordable Care Act," but build on it.

 

THE FACTS: As Clinton suggests, Sanders' plan would indeed mean a radical change in direction — one that makes the government the payer of health care for everyone, not just for the elderly or the poorest Americans or members of the military.

 

Whether that means building on President Barack Obama's health care law or ripping it up may be a semantic argument. But at the core, Sanders would switch the country away from a private health insurance system. Employees, employers and others would pay higher taxes in return for health care with no premiums or deductibles, a striking departure from the subsidies and conditions that Obama's law has overlaid on the existing system.

 

Clinton did not exaggerate in describing the huge political battle that it took just to achieve "Obamacare" and the inability to sell Congress on a taxpayer-paid system even when Democrats were in control. (She ran into her own buzz saw on the issue when she proposed an overhaul of health care as first lady under her husband's administration.)

 

Clinton's team and her supporters have persisted in a dubious, if not bogus, argument that Sanders would wreck Medicare and other health-care entitlements with his proposed overhaul. It would do so only in the course of establishing a health care system in which traditional Medicare, Medicaid and more would no longer be needed — because the government would be insuring everyone.

 

She made that argument herself in an earlier debate but did not repeat it Sunday night.

 

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CLINTON on effects of Obama's health care law: "We now have driven costs down to the lowest they've been in 50 years."

 

THE FACTS: Not so. Health care spending is far higher than a half century ago. What she must have meant is that the rate of growth of health care spending year to year is lower than it's been in 50 years — closer to the truth, but still not right.

 

The government reported in December that health care spending in 2014 grew at the fastest pace since Obama took office, driven by expanded coverage under his law and rising drug prices. Not only that, but health care spending grew faster than the economy as a whole, reaching 17.5 percent of GDP. That means health care was claiming a growing share of national resources.

 

This was after five years of historically low growth in health spending — the decline Clinton was trying to address. But the lull in health care inflation was attributed in large measure to the recession that Obama inherited and its aftermath, not his law. And part of the reason health spending increased after that was because of the economic recovery.

 

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SANDERS: "I have a D-minus voting record from the NRA." ''I have supported from Day 1 an instant background check," as well as a ban on assault-type weapons.

 

CLINTON: "He voted against the Brady bill five times," as well as for allowing guns in national parks and for shielding the gun industry from lawsuits.

 

THE FACTS: Both are singling out aspects of Sanders' record that suit them, but that record is nuanced. Sanders indeed supported an instant background check, and at certain points a three-day waiting period. But he opposed longer waiting periods — of five or seven days — which gun control advocates see as a more effective way to flag people who should not be getting a gun.

 

Clinton is right that he opposed various versions of the Brady bill with longer waiting periods. But his poor marks from the NRA reflect a record that does lean toward stronger gun controls. Sanders now says he would support exposing gun makers to lawsuits.

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CLINTON: "One out of three African-American men may well end up going to prison. That's the statistic."
THE FACTS: That's a stale statistic, and Clinton isn't the only person to use it. Sanders has said nearly the same thing. Both drew on 13-year-old data that stated this as a projection, not a fact.

 

A 2003 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics said, "About 1 in 3 black males, 1 in 6 Hispanic males, and 1 in 17 white males are expected to go to prison during their lifetime, if current incarceration rates remain unchanged." But it went on to say that at the time, 16.6 percent of adult black males had actually ever gone to prison, or 1 in 6. The incarceration rate for black men has gone down since then, according to the Sentencing Project.

 

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SANDERS: "You have three out of the four largest banks today, bigger than they were when we bailed them out. ... I think it's time to put the government back on (the banks') backs."

 

CLINTON: "We have Dodd-Frank. It gives us the authority already to break up big banks that pose a risk to the financial sector."

 

THE FACTS: It's true, as Clinton said, that the 2010 financial overhaul law, known as Dodd-Frank, already gives the president the authority to force large banks to break up. Sanders has pledged to use that power if elected, while Clinton has not.

 

Yet such a move would require the support from numerous regulators, potentially including the chair of the Federal Reserve and head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Sanders would appoint some of those regulators, if elected, but the Senate would have to approve them, and it's unlikely that anyone supporting breaking up the banks would win Senate approval.

 

Dodd-Frank has also given the government more tools to regulate banks and potentially wind them down if they fail, rather than bail them out. Yet despite Clinton's faith in the law's ability to curb Wall Street's excesses, many of those provisions have not yet been tested and analysts disagree on how effective they will be.

 

Dodd-Frank also requires large banks to hold more capital as a cushion against loans that might go sour and subjects banks to "stress tests" to ensure they can survive economic downturns. Those greater capital requirements have caused many banks, including JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Citi, to shed assets in order to avoid growing larger and triggering further oversight.

 

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SANDERS: "This is a responsibility for the U.S. Justice Department to get involved. Whenever anybody in this country is killed while in police custody, it should automatically trigger a U.S. attorney general's investigation."

 

THE FACTS: The department already investigates some such deaths, but focuses only on those in which a federal civil rights violation appears possible, such as if there's an indication that an officer knowingly used unreasonable force.

 

A blanket trigger such as what Sanders proposes would strain resources, because hundreds of Americans are killed annually in confrontations with police, and it might be at odds with the department's emphasis on enforcing federal rather than local laws.

 

Though police shootings invariably draw the attention of federal investigators who monitor events on the ground, only a small number prompt federal probes and even fewer result in criminal charges.

 

Federal investigations are time-consuming and to build a case, prosecutors must satisfy a challenging legal burden — establishing a willful and knowing civil rights violation. In perhaps the most notable case of the last two years, the Justice Department opened an investigation after the fatal August 2014 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, but ultimately closed the probe without bringing any charges.

 

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Associated Press writers Christopher S. Rugaber, Eric Tucker and Jesse Holland contributed to this report.

 

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