05 24 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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Demonstrators walk down Mangum Street toward the Durham County Detention Center while protesting in solidarity with Baltimore demonstrators, Friday, May 1, 2015, in Durham, N.C.

BALTIMORE (AP) — A massive march planned for Saturday to protest the death of a man in police custody is now being billed as a "victory rally" after Baltimore's top prosecutor filed criminal charges against the six officers involved in the man's arrest.

The thousands of marchers who are expected to hit the streets this weekend will now do so to celebrate the decision by State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby to charge the officers with felonies ranging from assault to murder, and encourage continued peaceful demonstrations.

Freddie Gray's death from spinal injuries a week after his April 12 arrest provoked riots on the streets of West Baltimore on Monday and quickly became a rallying cry against police brutality and social inequality in the city. Mosby's announcement on Friday triggered celebrations on those same streets.

Mosby said that after reviewing the results of a police investigation turned over to her just one day before, she had concluded Gray's arrest was illegal and unjustified. She said his neck was broken because he was handcuffed, shackled and placed head-first into a police van, where his pleas for medical attention were repeatedly ignored as he bounced around inside a small metal compartment in the vehicle.

The officers missed five opportunities to help the injured and falsely imprisoned detainee before he arrived at the police station no longer breathing, Mosby added. They even rerouted the van to pick up another passenger, she said.

The police had no reason to stop or chase after Gray, Mosby said. They falsely accused him of having an illegal switchblade when in fact it was a legal pocketknife, and failed to strap him down with a seatbelt, a direct violation of department policy, she said.

Gray's stepfather, Robert Shipley, said the family was happy the officers were charged, and he reiterated a plea to keep all public demonstrations peaceful.

"We are satisfied with today's charges; they are an important step in getting justice for Freddie," Shipley said. "But if you are not coming in peace, please don't come at all."

The family lawyer, Billy Murphy, said the charges are "a first step but not the last," adding that Baltimore now has an opportunity to set an example for cities across the nation grappling with police brutality.

"The overwhelming number of people who have protested over the days didn't know Freddie personally, but the people of Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, and in numerous cities and towns are expressing their outrage that there are too many Freddie Grays," Murphy said.

"If Freddie Gray is not to die in vain, we must seize this opportunity to reform police departments throughout this country, so there are no more days and times like this."

A lawyer hired by the police union insisted the officers did nothing wrong. Attorney Michael Davey said Friday that Mosby has committed "an egregious rush to judgment."

But for others who saw Gray's arrest and death as a reflection of the city's broad social and economic problems, the announcement of charges prompted celebrations in the streets.

At City Hall, Andrea Otom, 41, sobbed with something like joy.

"You have to be able to expect that at some time, the pendulum will swing in your favor, and in the black community we've seen it over and over and over where it doesn't," Otom said. "I'm so happy to see a day where the pendulum has finally begun to swing."

Black Lawyers for Justice is expecting at least 10,000 people to show up for a protest rally Saturday in downtown Baltimore.

Malik Shabazz, the group's president, said he expects even more people to show up now that the officers have been charged.

"Our rally will proceed as a victory rally," he said. "It will be a rally for justice and against police brutality."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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