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Bill Cosby Found GUILTY

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Bill Cosby found guilty by Pennsylvania jury in sexual assault trial” was written by Tom McCarthy in New York, for theguardian.com on Thursday 26th April 2018 17.53 UTC

After fewer than two days of deliberation, a Pennsylvania jury has declared the actor and comedian Bill Cosby guilty in connection with a 2004 sexual abuse incident at his suburban Philadelphia home.

Cosby, 80, faces a possible maximum prison sentence of 15 to 30 years.

The verdict came as vindication for dozens of women who have publicly accused Cosby of sexual abuse, harassment or attempted abuse and seemed destined to stand as a milestone in the #MeToo movement against sexual assault.

A trial on the same charges last summer ended in a mistrial with a hung jury.

Cosby was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand, a former basketball player who was 30 years old at the time of the alleged incident. Cosby said the two had a consensual relationship.

Five women in addition to Constand testified for the prosecution at the trial that Cosby had assaulted them.

But the defense team called into question the motives and characters of Cosby’s accusers, branding Constand a “pathological liar” and declaring of one supporting witness: “It sounds as though she slept with every single man on the planet.”

The verdict completes a dramatic downfall for one of America’s most popular and beloved entertainers.

Cosby’s accusers have described alleged sexual assaults by him involving sedatives from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Dozens of new accusers stepped forward after video circulated of an October 2014 stand-up routine in Philadelphia, Cosby’s hometown, in which the comedian Hannibal Buress riffed on rape accusations against Cosby.

Soon after, transcripts emerged of depositions that Cosby had given in 2005 and 2006, when he was the defendant in a civil lawsuit brought by Constand that he would ultimately settle for $3.4m.

In a September 2005 deposition, Cosby acknowledged that he had, in the past, obtained seven prescriptions in his name for Quaaludes – a powerful sedative – that he never intended to take himself.

The deposition transcripts contained this exchange between Cosby and the plaintiff’s attorney Dolores Troiani:

Troiani: When you got the Quaaludes, was it in your mind that you were going to use these Quaaludes for young women that you wanted to have sex with?

Cosby: Yes.

Asked by police whether he had ever had sexual intercourse with Constand, Cosby replied, according to court documents: “Never asleep nor awake.”

Cosby was a successful standup comedian and film actor and starred in hit television shows including Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and The Cosby Show. He was also a Jell-O pitchman and later a public moralist. In 2006, he embarked on a 20-city “Call Out with Bill Cosby” tour in which he diagnosed moral failings among low-income African-Americans and largely dismissed the impacts of systemic discrimination.

Cosby’s career collapse began before his first trial in June 2017, in which a jury deliberated for five and a half-days before declaring themselves unable to reach a verdict.

Prior to that trial, a planned standup comedy tour featuring Cosby was cancelled, as were a planned NBC sitcom and a Netflix special, and more than 20 universities rescinded honorary degrees. The DC institution Ben’s Chili Bowl painted over a famous outdoor mural of African American leaders that had prominently featured him.

Amid a growing public reckoning with sexual assault and discrimination prompted by the #MeToo movement, the Cosby trial took on broad social overtones.

As Cosby arrived at the courthouse as the trial began, a topless protester with “Women’s Lives Matter” and other phrases written across her body jumped a barricade near him and was arrested.

In their closing arguments, Cosby’s lawyers encouraged jurors not to make Cosby a scapegoat. The lead defense lawyer, Thomas Mesereau Jr, who successfully represented Michael Jackson on molestation charges in 2005, said the case was based on “shallow nonsense. Because that’s what our country is full of at the moment.”

But the prosecution, in its summing up, had slammed Cosby as “nothing like the image he plays on TV”.

The assistant district attorney Kristen Feden said in an impassioned address to the jury of seven men and five women: “He utilized that image and cloaked it around himself, so he could gain the trust of young, unsuspecting women to sexually assault them and strip their ability to say no.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Police step up patrols in London as spate of violent crime continues

Extra patrols working on bank holiday as mother of latest victim calls for end to violence

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Met steps up patrols amid series of violent incidents across UK” was written by Jamie Grierson, for The Guardian on Monday 7th May 2018 15.19 UTC

The Metropolitan police increased the number of police officers on the streets over the bank holiday weekend as London’s violent crimewave showed no signs of abating, with one teenager shot dead and another caught in crossfire in a separate incident. There were also a number of violent incidents in other parts of the country.

As temperatures hit record levels for the early May bank holiday, the Met grappled with shootings, stabbings and acid attacks across the city.

The recently appointed home secretary, Sajid Javid, vowed to work with anyone determined to tackle serious violence, while the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, hit out at the failure of government ministers to tackle the problem.

Javid, whose predecessor, Amber Rudd, unveiled a serious violence strategy as one of her final acts as home secretary, tweeted: “Appalling to hear about children being killed and injured on our streets this bank holiday. Serious violence is robbing too many young people of their futures. I will work with anyone determined to tackle it.”

The Met said extra patrols would be working on Monday to keep the capital’s streets safe after a series of incidents on Saturday and Sunday.

knife crime locations in London

Rhyhiem Ainsworth Barton, 17, was killed on Saturday. Paramedics and police were called to reports of gunshots on Cook’s Road in Kennington, south London, just after 6pm. Rhyhiem was found on nearby Warham Street with a gunshot injury.

His mother, Pretana Morgan, called for the violence to end. “Let my son be the last and be an example to everyone,” she said. “Just let it stop. What must be, must be.

“It’s not about race, it’s not about nation, it’s not about culture. Nothing. It’s just a human race. Just one human race. So children, please let my son be the last.”

She said Rhyhiem was not in a gang and he had been trying to make a difference by learning to work with children. He was also an aspiring architect. No arrests have been made in connection with his death.

On Sunday a 13-year-old boy was struck in the head by shotgun pellets as he walked along a street with his parents in Wealdstone, north-west London. Police said they believed the teenager was an innocent bystander after a 15-year-old boy was attacked nearby.

Both teenagers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and the younger one has been released from hospital. Officers have been made aware of a possible third victim who may have been at the scene with the 15-year-old.

DCS Simon Rose, the Harrow borough commander, said: “This was a callous, reckless and brazen act, without any thought by those responsible for the fact that there were families with children and people in the high street enjoying their weekend. This was quite simply appalling.”

In east London, a man believed to be 17 years old was taken to an east London hospital after being stabbed on Leytonstone Road. His condition was initially deemed critical, police said, but is now thought to be not life-threatening. His family has been informed and detectives from Newham CID are investigating.

A 43-year-old man was also stabbed in Perivale, in north west London, after a dispute about driving.

Police said the man was attacked on Buckingham Avenue at around 9pm on Sunday after a number of residents questioned a man in a blue car about the nature of his driving in the small residential street.

Three people were injured in a “noxious substance” incident after an altercation between two groups in east London at around 5.20am on Sunday.

Police are investigating whether the men, aged 22 and 27, and a 17-year-old boy suffered life-changing injuries in the incident in Shacklewell Lane, Hackney.

In another incident in south-east London on Sunday, police were flagged down by a member of the public in New Cross Road just before 6.30pm, where they found a 22-year-old man with gunshot wounds. He was taken by ambulance to a central London hospital where his condition was not life-threatening, according to Scotland Yard.

Police said: “At this early stage, it is believed that two male suspects riding one moped shot the victim … Officers retain an open mind as to any motive.”

Outside the capital, two men died in stabbings in Liverpool and Luton during the bank holiday weekend. Fatah Warsame, 20, from Cardiff, died after being stabbed in Liverpool city centre early on Sunday morning. On Sunday evening a 20-year-old man was killed in Bishopscote Road, Luton.

In Macclesfield, a 37-year-old man died after suffering knife injuries on Sunday evening. Cheshire police said a 15-year-old boy and 29-year-old man were arrested as part of their investigation into the incident.

Rudd launched the serious violence strategy last month amid controversy over the potential link between dwindling police numbers and the rise in crime. The strategy is to be backed by £40m of Home Office funding and a new offensive weapons bill to ban the sale of corrosive liquids to under-18s and introduce tougher restrictions on buying knives online. It will focus heavily on the links between illegal drug markets, particularly for crack cocaine, and violent crime.

Khan, who has faced criticism from some for the increase in violence since he became London mayor, said he was “doing all I can to compensate for the failure of government ministers” on the issue.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Crime

Explosion in Westchester Heights, New York

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An explosion in Westchester Heights, New York has injured at least one person.

Suspicious package found near scene, bomb squad are en route to scene.

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Crime

Shots fired at shopping mall in Nashville

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Metro Nashville Police Department officials have responded to a shooting call at Opry Mills Mall.

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