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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Civil rights icon Vernon Jordan awards honorary doctorate of law degree to President Barack Obama; Cheriss May

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama told the graduates of one of the nation’s leading historically black universities that America is "a better place today" than it was when he graduated from college, but more work needs to be done and urged them to be involved in the political process if they want to see change.

"When you don't vote, you give away your power," Obama said told the more than 2,300 graduates of Howard University. "Change is the effort of committed citizens ... Change requires more than speaking out; it requires listening to those with whom you disagree, and being prepared to compromise."

Obama howard 2

 

Photo: Valerie Jarrett, Vernon Jordan, President Barack Obama, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Also attending the Howard commencement event were the president's longtime adviser Valerie Jarrett, civil rights activist and business leader Vernon Jordan, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. 

Obama received with an honorary doctorate of law degree from the university. It was presented by civil rights icon Vernon Jordan.

 

Obama speaksPHOTO: President Obama speaks to Howard graduates.

Under overcast sky and the constant threat of rain, Obama told the graduates and their families that there were no black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and few black judges when he received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University in 1983.

"A lot of folks didn't even think blacks had the tools to be a quarterback," he said. "When I was a graduate, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T."
Today, he said, "we're producers, studio executives. We're no longer small-business owners, we're CEOs. We're mayors, representatives.

He said there is still work for Howard’s graduates and others to do.

"Racism persists, inequality persists,” he said.

Obama Howard crowdPHOTO: Howard University graduates cheer the president's speech

The president cited income inequality, as well as disparities in unemployment, pay and criminal justice. Disease and conflict worldwide, along with new challenges from terrorism and climate change are also problems that need to be addressed, he said.

"So, make no mistake Class of 2016, you've got plenty of work to do," he said. “So, enjoy the party, because you're going to be busy."

 

All photos by Cheriss May, Howard University News Service.

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