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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WASHINGTON—The Republican-controlled Senate will begin hearings Jan. 9 on Judge The Republican-controlled Senate will begin hearings Jan. 9 on Judge Samuel Alito's appointment to the Supreme Court, spurning President Bush's call for a final confirmation vote before year's end.

"It simply wasn't possible to accommodate the schedule that the White House wanted," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said late Thursday. He outlined a schedule that envisions five days of hearings, followed by a vote in committee on Jan. 17 and the full Senate on Jan. 20.

Bush nominated Alito on Monday to fill the seat of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has often held the swing vote on cases involving controversial issues such as abortion and affirmative action.

Conservatives eager to replace O'Connor and push the court to the right have swung behind Alito's nomination, and in making the appointment the president urged the Senate to vote this year.

Democrats, citing a need to review the voluminous record that Alito has compiled in 15 years as a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, favor waiting until the new year for the beginning of hearings. The 55-year-old judge has written an estimated 300 rulings and participated in roughly 1,500 cases.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who joined Specter at a news conference, took several slaps at the White House pressure.

"We are grownups, and we know how to get this done," said Leahy, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. While not meeting Bush's timetable, he added, "We will be going at a very fast pace."

Separately, the National Archives issued a statement during the day saying its staff would need several weeks to complete a search of Department of Justice records for any material pertaining to Alito. The agency also is seeking documents at the Ronald Reagan and George Bush presidential libraries that might shed light on Alito's actions or views, the statement said.

Alito worked in both administrations and was a federal prosecutor in his home state of New Jersey before his confirmation as an appeals court judge.

Alito has met with more than a dozen senators in courtesy calls, a time-honored process that involves having the nominee walk from one office to another.

Last Thursday, though, was a day with a difference, though. With lawmakers involved in a daylong series of votes that kept them in the Capitol, Alito was ushered into a room a few paces off the Senate floor so senators — Cornyn, Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Robert Bennett, R-Utah — could be brought to him.

A fourth Republican, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, talked with Alito on the steps outside the Capitol. A supporter of abortion rights, Chafee said he raised the issue with the nominee in their brief meeting. "We were able to have a candid conversation that I prefer to keep confidential," he said.

Like other senators, Chafee said he was withholding his judgment about the nomination until after the hearings. But he expressed his feelings in a distinctive way. "As a horseman, I know the first step when you meet a horse is to take it easy, take it slow," he said.

Specter was caught between conflicting pressures as he sought to work out a schedule on the nomination. While the president made his wishes clear, Democrat Leahy of Vermont said earlier this week it was not possible to hold honest or fair hearings before the new year.

Republicans have the ability to schedule hearings as they wish, but Democrats have procedural rights under Senate rules that could prolong the hearings, delay sending the nomination to the floor or otherwise complicate the administration's desire for a smooth confirmation.

Additionally, some Republicans noted that a vote in January — before Bush's State of the Union address — could allow him to claim an early political success in the new year. They also said it could be politically risky to have Alito testify in December, then allow several weeks to elapse before a vote by the full Senate. That would allow liberal critics to mount a nationwide campaign for his rejection.

A bipartisan group of 14 lawmakers met privately to discuss the appointment. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., told reporters there was a "sense that we're still together and keeping this a civil and orderly process at this point."

The group brokered a last-minute compromise last spring that prevented a Senate showdown over several of Bush's conservative appeals court nominees and a Republican threat to ban filibusters in cases of judicial appointments.

— The Associated Press

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