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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KILIMANYOKA, Congo (AP) — Rebels advanced toward Congo's eastern provincial capital of 600,000 people Tuesday, sending tens of thousands of terrified civilians into a makeshift shelter as Congolese troops and U.N. tanks retreated.
The sudden influx tripled the size of the camp in Kibati in a matter of hours, said Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency. A hundred refugees a day, most of them women and children, also were fleeing across the border into Uganda, that country's Red Cross said.
In Kibati, a few miles from the front line, young men lobbed rocks Tuesday at three U.N. tanks also heading away from the battlefield. The U.N.'s peacekeeping mission is the agency's biggest in the world, with 17,000 troops.
"What are they doing? They are supposed to protect us," said Jean-Paul Maombi, a 31-year-old nurse from Kibumba.
The chaos in eastern Congo has been fueled by festering hatreds left over from the Rwandan genocide and the country's unrelenting civil wars. Renegade Gen. Laurent Nkunda has threatened to take Goma despite calls from the U.N. Security Council for him to respect a cease-fire brokered by the U.N. in January.
Nkunda charges that the Congolese government has not protected his minority Tutsi tribe from a Rwandan Hutu militia that escaped to Congo after helping perpetrate the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Half a million Tutsis were slaughtered.
Nkunda's ambitions have expanded since he launched a new onslaught on Aug. 28; he now declares he will "liberate" all of Congo, a country the size of Western Europe with vast reserves of diamonds, gold and other resources. Congo's mineral wealth helped fuel back-to-back wars from 1997 to 2003.
The U.N. says more than 200,000 people have been forced from their homes in the last two months, joining 1.2 million displaced in previous conflicts in the east. Outbreaks of cholera and diarrhea have killed dozens in camps, compounding the misery.
On Monday, peacekeepers in attack helicopters fired at the rebels in an attempt to stop them taking Kibumba, a village on the main road 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Goma. But fleeing civilians say the fighters overran Kibumba anyway.
The rebels retaliated by firing a missile at one U.N. combat helicopter Monday, but missed, U.N. spokeswoman Sylvie van den Wildenberg said. Several foreign aid workers have fled fighting from Rutshuru as rebels closed in on the town, 45 miles (73 kilometers) north of Goma, she said. The U.N. was trying to evacuate the workers from Rutshuru, where the rebels are fighting on the second of four fronts.
Doctors Without Borders said essential medical staff who were not evacuated from Rutshuru Hospital said they could hear heavy artillery combat close by Tuesday. They said they had treated 70 war wounded since Sunday but most patients had fled the hospital.
U.N. efforts to halt Nkunda's rebellion are complicated by the country's rugged terrain, dense tropical forests that roll over hills and mountains with few roads.
On Tuesday, a U.N. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject said rebels in civilian clothes made several attempts to infiltrate Goma, but U.N. peacekeepers spotted them and forced them to return.
Also Tuesday, a U.N. helicopter gunship patrolled over Kilimanyoka, seven miles (10 kilometers) north of Goma. Rebel spokesman Bertrand Bisimwa said he expected the helicopters soon would attack their front line, which he said is within 12 miles (19 kilometers)of Goma.
The U.N. spokeswoman said U.N. attack helicopters were trying to impede the rebels and they appear to have succeeded in part Tuesday. In late afternoon, about 200 government soldiers were nearly two miles (3 kilometers) closer to the rebels than the line of the troops that retreated. They were being resupplied from a truck loaded with rocket-propelled grenades.
The chief U.N. mandate is to protect the population. But since the peace deal it also is supposed to help the Congolese army disarm and repatriate Hutu militiamen — by force if necessary.
But Bisimwa, the rebel spokesman, claimed Tuesday the Congolese army has abandoned dozens of its positions to Hutu militiamen.
"It's the Hutus who are on the front line and whom we are fighting, not the army," he said. U.N. peacekeepers "leave us no choice but to fight on."
Nkunda long has charged that Congolese soldiers fight alongside the militia of Hutus, an ethnic majority of about 40 percent in the region.
Some 800 Hutu militiamen have voluntarily returned to Rwanda, the U.N. says, but the fighters recruit and coerce Congolese Hutu children and young men into their ranks daily — far outnumbering those who have returned home.
Civil leaders led by Jason Luneno said if U.N. peacekeepers cannot halt the rebel advance, the peacekeepers should leave Congo and "the people will descend into the streets to demand the government resign."
Tensions also are high on the diplomatic front. Congo this week repeated charges that Rwanda's Tutsi-led government is sending troops across the border to reinforce Nkunda. Rwanda denies the charges and the U.N. says they are unfounded.

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