Bill Cosby is reportedly ‘blind,’ living in ‘his own personal hell’

Wonderwall.com Editors 

As he waits to find out when he’ll stand trial for three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault, Bill Cosby is reportedly blind and stuck at home without much support besides his wife Camille.

An insider tells the New York Post the comedy icon suffers from an eye disease called keratoconus that’s gotten progressively worse over the past year, during which the number of women claiming he drugged, raped and/or sexually assaulted them has climbed above 50.

“His alleged victims may take some solace in the fact that he’s in his own personal hell,” says the Post’s source. “He has been suffering from a degenerative eye disease and is completely blind … All his Hollywood friends have turned their backs on him.”

The insider went on to say Cosby, now 79, “is confined to his house in Pennsylvania, and the only person on his side is his wife, Camille, who is masterminding his defense,” adding, “His only friends are the small army of lawyers on his payroll.”

While a number of other lawsuits stemming from the alleged sexual assaults are still pending, the “Cosby Show” star is headed to court over Andrea Constand’s 2004 claim he attacked her.

Cosby was recently given a green light to sue Constand — and her mother, her lawyers and the company that owns the National Enquirer — over his claim Constand broke a confidentiality agreement by going public with her allegations against him. He has filed countersuits against a number of the other alleged victims who have filed suit as well.

Cosby’s wife, meanwhile, has remained mostly silent as more and more women have come forward with claims her husband drugged and assaulted them over a period of decades.

“Bill has humiliated [Camille],” an insider told the Post in January, “and the affairs he’s had have gotten out of hand and this [criminal charge] is him reaping what he’s sown.”

Though he’s repeatedly denied the accusations against him, he did admit in a deposition taken in 2005 and 2006 to using drugs and his celebrity status to have sex with women.

 

5 Dallas Officers Slain, Deadliest Day for Police Since 9/11

Five Dallas police officers were fatally shot and seven others wounded during a protest over the deaths of black men killed by police this week in Louisiana and Minnesota — the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Police Chief David Brown blamed “snipers,” but it was unclear how many shooters were involved. Authorities initially said three suspects were in custody and a fourth dead, killed by a robot-delivered bomb in a parking garage where he had exchanged fire with officers.

Before dying, the police chief said, the suspect told officers he was upset about recent shootings and wanted to kill whites, “especially white officers.” The man also stated that he acted alone and was not affiliated with any groups, Brown said.

Thursday’s bloodshed, which unfolded just a few blocks from where President John F. Kennedy was slain in 1963, also evoked the trauma of the nation’s tumultuous civil rights era.

The shooting began about 8:45 p.m. Thursday while hundreds of people were gathered to protest the killings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Brown told reporters that snipers fired “ambush-style” on the officers. Two civilians also were wounded.

Police were not sure they had located all possible suspects, but by attention on Friday quickly focused on the man killed in the parking garage.

Authorities resorted to the bomb after hours of negotiations failed, Brown said. The suspect said he was not affiliated with any groups and stated that he acted alone, Brown added.

A Texas law enforcement official identified the slain suspect as Micah Johnson, 25.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he said he was not authorized to release the information. There were no immediate details on the suspect’s middle name or hometown.

None of the suspects was identified, and the police chief said he would not disclose any details about them until authorities were sure everyone involved was in custody.

The shooting began about 8:45 p.m. Thursday while hundreds of people were gathered to protest the week’s fatal police shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Brown told reporters the snipers fired “ambush-style” on the officers. Two civilians were also wounded.

Brown said it appeared the shooters “planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could.”

Video from the scene showed protesters marching along a downtown street about half a mile from City Hall when shots erupted and the crowd scattered, seeking cover. Officers crouched beside vehicles, armored SWAT team vehicles arrived and a helicopter hovered overhead.

Demonstrations were held in several other U.S. cities Thursday night to protest the police killings of two more black men: A Minnesota officer on Wednesday fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child, and the shooting’s aftermath was livestreamed in a widely shared Facebook video. A day earlier, Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That, too, was captured on a cellphone video.

The Dallas shootings occurred in an area of hotels, restaurants, businesses and some residential apartments only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza, the landmark made famous by the Kennedy assassination.

The scene was chaotic, with officers with automatic rifles on the street corners.

“Everyone just started running,” Devante Odom, 21, told The Dallas Morning News. “We lost touch with two of our friends just trying to get out of there.”

Carlos Harris, who lives downtown, told the newspaper that the shooters “were strategic. It was tap, tap, pause. Tap, tap, pause,” he said.

Brown said the suspects “triangulated” in the downtown area where the protesters were marching and had “some knowledge of the route” they would take.

Video posted on social media appeared to show a gunman at ground level exchanging fire with a police officer who was then felled.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said one of wounded officers had a bullet go through his leg as three members of his squad were fatally shot around him.

“He felt that people don’t understand the danger of dealing with a protest,” said Rawlings, who spoke to the surviving officer. “And that’s what I learned from this. We care so much about people protesting, and I think it’s their rights. But how we handle it can do a lot of things. One of the things it can do is put our police officers in harm’s way, and we have to be very careful about doing that.”

Early Friday morning, dozens of officers filled the corridor of the emergency room at Baylor Medical Center, where other wounded officers were taken. The mayor and police chief were seen arriving there.

Four of the officers who were killed were with the Dallas Police Department, a spokesman said. One was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. The agency said in a statement that 43-year-old officer Brent Thompson, a newlywed whose bride also works for the police force, was the first officer killed in the line of duty since the agency formed a police department in 1989.

“Our hearts are broken,” the statement said.

Theresa Williams said one of the wounded civilians was her sister, 37-year-old Shetamia Taylor, who was shot in the right calf. She had thrown herself over her four sons, ages 12 to 17, when the shooting began.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to offer “whatever assistance the City of Dallas needs.”

“In times like this we must remember — and emphasize — the importance of uniting as Americans,” Abbott said.

Other protests across the U.S. on Thursday were peaceful, including in New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. In Minnesota, where Castile was shot, hundreds of protesters marched in the rain from a vigil to the governor’s official residence.

President Barack Obama said America is “horrified” by the shootings, which have no possible justification. He called them “vicious, calculated and despicable.”

Speaking from Warsaw, Poland, where he was meeting with leaders of the European Union and attending a NATO summit, the president asked all Americans to pray for the fallen officers and their families.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks on-duty deaths, said the fatal shootings made Thursday the deadliest day for U.S. police since Sept. 11.

 

SAY GOOD BYE TO TIME WARNER CABLE

Charter has completed its purchase of Time Warner Cable, combining the two companies and forming the United States’ second largest cable operator, just behind Comcast. Charter also completed its acquisition of the smaller cable provider Bright House Networks. With the three companies combined, Charter now serves over 25 million customers in 41 states.

The acquisition ultimately had Charter paying $55 billion for Time Warner Cable and $10.4 billion for Bright House Networks, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Charter claims the acquisition will allow it to improve its broadband network throughout the country, leading to faster speeds and better video products.

The Time Warner Cable name is going away

This is also the beginning of the end for Time Warner Cable. Though the brand still exists today, Charter tells Bloomberg that the name will be phased out. “While Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks customers will not see any immediate change, the company will be called Charter and the products and services will be marketed under the ‘Spectrum’ brand,” a representative said. It’s a PR move, meant to counter the fact that Time Warner Cable customers don’t have a very bright view of Time Warner Cable.

Charter announced its intention to purchase Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks a year ago next week. In the time between then and now, regulators investigated whether the deal would harm consumers and competition. Ultimately they decided it wouldn’t — for the most part, at least. The FCC and Justice Department mandated that the new Charter agree to seven years worth of conditions.

Those conditions prevent Charter from imposing data caps or usage-based pricing, from charging interconnect fees to heavy data users like Netflix, and from making TV exclusivity deals that would harm online video providers. The data caps rule is huge for consumers, as Comcast now appears to be moving in that direction for all customers; but taken together, all three rules are meant to ensure that Charter, which offers both internet and TV service, doesn’t prevent online TV services from competing

 

by: Jacob Kastrenakes and Hollywood reporter

 

President Obama reveals retirement plans

 

Nancy Reagan, former first lady and actress, dead at 94

(CNN)Former first lady Nancy Reagan, who joined her husband on a storybook journey from Hollywood to the White House, died Sunday.

She was 94.

Reagan died at her home in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure, according to her spokeswoman, Joanne Drake of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

“Mrs. Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004. Prior to the funeral service, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to pay their respects at the library,” Drake said in a statement.

The former first lady requested that contributions be made to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation in lieu of flowers, the statement said.

 

Jeb Bush Drops Out Of Presidential Race

TIME Staff Updated: Feb. 20, 2016 9:47 PM

“The people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken. I respect their decision”

Jeb Bush formally ended his painful run for the White House on Saturday night, telling supporters that “our nation’s bright light has become little more than a flicker.”

“Tonight I am suspending my campaign,” the former Florida governor told a crowd of supporters. “The people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken. I respect their decision.”

Bush had struggled in early primary states, including in South Carolina’s vote on Saturday, which Donald Trump won. The full results had not even been announced when Bush took the stage to say he was suspending his campaign.

Even in exiting, Bush stood fast against the angry mood of the country that helped Trump log wins. If that’s what America wanted, then they’d have to look away from Bush.

 

If Obama’s Supreme Court nominee fails, don’t blame Ted Cruz

https://www.yahoo.com/politics/if-obamas-supreme-court-nominee-fails-dont-070045383.html

Shortly after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died last weekend, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz turned to U.S. history to explain why the Senate should block any nominee President Obama puts forward, regardless of his or her résumé.

“We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year,” Cruz said on stage at Saturday’s Republican debate in Greenville, S.C.

“There is a long tradition that you don’t do this,“ he added the next day on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Cruz’s argument — which Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has also been making — is bunk. First of all, the Senate confirmed a Supreme Court justice in an election year less than three decades ago: Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan nominee, who was approved by the Senate on Feb. 3, 1988, nine months before Election Day. And even if you rule out Kennedy because Reagan originally nominated him the previous November, Cruz’s 80-year time frame still doesn’t hold up: Justice Frank Murphy was selected by Franklin D. Roosevelt on Jan. 4, 1940, and confirmed 12 days later.

That said, Cruz is correct that it’s rare for a president to nominate — and to see the Senate confirm — a Supreme Court justice in an election year. But he’s wrong about the reason why this is rare. It’s not because of some sort of “long tradition” of presidential passivity or Congressional obstruction. Instead, it’s because Supreme Court justices almost never vacate their seats the same year as an election, either willingly or unwillingly, like Scalia.

Over the last eight decades, in fact, it’s only happened twice: in 1940, as noted above, and several elections later, in 1968. Only in 1968 did the president’s picks fail. Every other time a Supreme Court seat has opened up in an election year since the start of the 20th century — once in 1932, twice in 1916, once in 1912 — the president has nominated a replacement and the Senate has voted to confirm.

As PolitiFact puts it, “vacancies in an election year are rare, especially in Cruz’s time frame. As such, it’s hard to argue that there is any tradition in filling seats.”

In short, Cruz’s history lesson is misleading. But that doesn’t mean history is useless here. The past can actually tell us quite a lot about Obama’s chances of getting his replacement for Scalia through the Senate — if you know where to look.

In 1993, P.S. Ruckman Jr., a political scientist then at Northern Illinois University, published a paper in the Journal of Politics titled “The Supreme Court, Critical Nominations and the Senate Confirmation Process.” All of a sudden, 23 years later, it’s very interesting reading.

In his paper, Ruckman reviews the record on Supreme Court nominations and explores several factors that have influenced their outcomes. All in all, more than 150 people have been nominated to the court since 1789 — and more than 19 percent have not been confirmed by the Senate. Most of these failed nominations never even made it to the Senate floor for a vote; instead they involved indefinite postponements, total Senate inaction or withdrawals by the president. No other national office has such a high rejection rate. In historical terms, it’s relatively common for a Supreme Court nominee to fail.

The more pressing question is why. According to Ruckman, timing is important: Almost half of the unsuccessful Supreme Court candidates in U.S. history have been nominated in the last year of a president’s term. That’s one mark against whomever Obama selects. The makeup of Congress plays an even bigger role: Nearly 60 percent of failed nominations have occurred when one party controlled the presidency and the other controlled the Senate (which, of course, is the case right now). That’s another problem for Obama.

Yet the president’s biggest challenge may be the overall partisan composition of the court — or, more specifically, how his nominee would likely alter it. All of the factors mentioned above had been studied before. What no one had bothered to look at until Ruckman came along was a factor that he called the “critical nomination” — that is, a nomination that would, if successful, “have a substantial impact” on the partisan balance of the court, either by creating a partisan tie, by reducing an existing 6-3 partisan majority to a slim, swing vote-susceptible 5-4, or by transforming an existing 5-4 split into a new 5-4 majority for the other party (which is what Cruz & Co. are worried that Obama will do now that Scalia is gone).

Critical nominations are pretty uncommon; there were 11 in the 1800s and eight in the 1900s. But because of their political importance, the rejection rate for this kind of nomination is really, really high: 42 percent. In contrast, the rejection rate for all other nominations is just 15 percent.

To test the predictive power of each of these factors, Ruckman created a statistical model and used it to analyze multiple variables. His findings should worry the White House. When the opposite party controls the Senate, a president’s Supreme Court nominee is 6.5 times more likely to fail. When it’s the fourth year of a president’s term, his or her nominee is 10 times more likely to fail. And when the nomination is “critical,” the odds of failure go up by a factor of 12.

Historically, any one of these roadblocks would be enough to derail a Supreme Court nominee. But whomever Obama nominates in the weeks ahead won’t face just one. He or she will face all three. That’s never happened before in U.S. history.

As Ruckman told Yahoo News by email, Obama’s forthcoming pick “would be one of the most phenomenal nominations in history, if successful.”

As the battle to replace Scalia gets underway, pundits will continue to complain about the unprecedented partisanship that has paralyzed Washington — and rightly so. Cruz’s argument that Obama doesn’t have the right to nominate anyone because it’s an election year — an argument that has been echoed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — is plainly wrong.

But if, in the end, Obama’s nominee fails, then Ted Cruz — and the ongoing pandemic of polarization that he embodies — won’t really be to blame. According to our history, the president probably never had a chance to begin with.

 

What the Iowa caucus results mean going into New Hampshire

And now for something completely different.

The Iowa caucus and its unique procedures are in the books, with Ted Cruz winning for Republicans and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders locked in a virtual tie.

The 2016 presidential race turns to New Hampshire for a primary ballot vote next Tuesday. Early polls have shown billionaire Donald Trump and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with firm leads in their respective races, but the results from Iowa could change that trend in the next seven days.

Boston.com spoke to New England College political science professor Wayne Lesperance to get a read on the potential troubles ahead for Trump, the cash flow of the many Republican establishment candidates, and the route to victory for Hillary Clinton.

Things are going to be a little bit awkward tomorrow at Donald Trump’s rally in Milford, New Hampshire, says Lesperance. Not only did the Republican billionaire lose the Iowa caucus to Ted Cruz, he narrowly finished ahead of Marco Rubio, who now can firmly grasp the mantle of the establishment candidate.

“He will go to New Hampshire claiming to be the establishment’s choice and urging supporters of John Kasich, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush to rally behind him,” Lesperance said of Rubio.

For Cruz, the actual winner among Iowa Republicans, it’s less about his result in New Hampshire, where there is less support for his socially conservative appeal.

“Obviously he wants to do as well as he can here,” Lesperance said, noting that Cruz has set his sights on South Carolina, where Republicans will vote February 20.

Lesperance said Cruz also stands to benefit from Trump defectors going forward in the “outsider lane.”

The second-place finish will be a test of the billionaire real estate mogul’s character as a candidate going forward, Lesperance said.

“We haven’t seen Trump in a position of having lost something and having to battle through that,” he said.

Whereas Trump’s lead in Iowa, though consistent, was in the single digits before the votes were actually counted, his lead among New Hampshire Republicans has averaged about 20 percentage points in recent polls.

His second place finish in Iowa, however, could change how supporters view him, perhaps affecting that lead, Lesperance said.

“One of the dangers of making your entire campaign your brand, if your brand is about strength and about being a winner is that when your brand falters, your campaign falters,” he added.

As of Monday morning, the Iowa Democratic Party chairman had not declared a winner in the tight race between Clinton and Sanders. Sanders is still favored to win New Hampshire, but primaries are fluid and media narratives create momentum.

“The math doesn’t matter, the number of delegates doesn’t matter,” Lesperance said. “What matters is what does that headline say in the morning going forward into New Hampshire.”

According to Lesperance, the Clinton campaign can write off New Hampshire to the Vermont senator and work to consolidate leads in later states.

“They basically have the excuse, the explanation written in: ‘Sanders is from the neighboring state, everybody knows him in New Hampshire, no big deal, by the way, Hillary won in 2008,’” he said.

Not only does Clinton have a strong polling lead in Nevada, South Carolina, and beyond, but her campaign also still has nearly $38 million left to spend, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filing. Plus, her super PAC has another $35.8 million on hand.

That said, Sanders’ small donor base could be more sustainable; more than half of Clinton supporters maxed out their legal contribution amount.

Still, a win in Iowa and a loss in New Hampshire would be “a wash” for Clinton.

“She’s got the money and the organization going forward that she’ll be fine,” Lesperance said.

In Iowa, neither Jeb Bush, John Kasich, or Chris Christie received more than 5 percent of the vote Monday night. Not that it was a surprise. Kasich didn’t travel to Iowa for caucus night, and Bush and Christie were on flights back to New Hampshire from Iowa before caucusing even began Monday.

But it isn’t election results or poll numbers that decide when candidates drop out—it’s cash. And some of the candidates who sacrificed Iowa to hang their campaigns on New Hampshire don’t have much left.

According to their year-end FEC filings released Sunday, Kasich’s campaign had $2.5 million left to spend and Christie had $1.1 million at the end of 2015. Kasich’s super PAC had $1.9 million left and Christie’s had $3.2 million left.

The two governors literally cannot afford an Iowa-like result in New Hampshire.

Bush, who already has his sights on South Carolina, has the resources to continue past New Hampshire, regardless of his results there. Despite his flailing poll numbers, the former Florida governor’s campaign and super PAC, Right to Rise, together have more than $66 million left to spend.

“Bush can run as long as he wants to stay in,” he said. “That’s not true of the others … There’s no path forward. They really have no operation in South Carolina. They’re betting the farm on New Hampshire.”

 

Bill Cosby is charged with sexual assaulting a woman

By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Bill Cosby was charged Wednesday with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home 12 years ago — the first criminal charges brought against the comedian out of the torrent of allegations that destroyed his good-guy image as America’s Dad.

The case sets the stage for perhaps the biggest Hollywood celebrity trial of the mobile-all-the-time era and could send the 78-year-old Cosby to prison in the twilight of his life and barrier-breaking career.

Prosecutors accused him of rendering former Temple University employee Andrea Constand unable to resist by plying her with pills and wine, then penetrating her with his fingers without her consent, when she was unconscious or unaware of what was happening.

She was “frozen, paralyzed, unable to move,” Montgomery County District Attorney-elect Kevin Steele said. In court papers, prosecutors said the drugs were the cold medicine Benadryl or some other, unidentified substance. Steele noted that Cosby has admitted giving quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with.

The TV star acknowledged under oath a decade ago that he had sexual contact with Constand but said it was consensual. Calls to his attorneys were not immediately returned.

He awaited arraignment in the afternoon on a charge of aggravated indecent assault, punishable by five to 10 years behind bars and a $25,000 fine.

The decision came down just days before Pennsylvania’s 12-year statute of limitations for bringing charges was set to run out.

The case represents an about-face by the district attorney’s office, which under a previous DA declined to charge Cosby in 2005 when Constand first told police that the comic violated her by putting his hands down her pants at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham.

Prosecutors reopened the case over the summer as damaging testimony was unsealed in Constand’s related civil lawsuit against Cosby and as dozens of other women came forward with similar accusations that made a mockery of his image as the wise and understanding Dr. Cliff Huxtable from TV’s “The Cosby Show.”

“Reopening this case was not a question. Rather, reopening this case was our duty as law enforcement officers,” said Steele, a top deputy in the DA’s office who will take over as top prosecutor in January.

In court papers, prosecutors said there are probably other women who were similarly drugged and violated by Cosby. Steele urged them to come forward as well.

Constand, now 42, lives in Toronto and works as a massage therapist. Her attorney, Dolores Troiani, welcomed the charges.

“She feels that they believe her, and to any victim, that is foremost in your mind: Are people going to believe me,” Troiani said.

The case adds to the towering list of legal problems facing the TV star, including defamation and sexual-abuse lawsuits filed in Boston, Los Angeles and Pennsylvania.

A key question if the case goes to trial is whether the judge will allow supporting testimony from other accusers to show similar “bad acts,” even though it is too late to bring charges in most if not all of those instances. The judge could decide that the testimony is too prejudicial.

Cosby in 1965 became the first black actor to land a leading role in a network drama, “I Spy,” and he went on to earn three straight Emmys. Over the next three decades, the Philadelphia-born comic created TV’s animated “Fat Albert” and the top-rated “Cosby Show,” the 1980s sitcom celebrated as groundbreaking television for its depiction of a warm and loving black family headed by two professionals — one a lawyer, the other a doctor.

He was a fatherly figure off camera as well, serving as a public moralist and public scold, urging young people to pull up their saggy pants and start acting responsibly.

Constand, who worked for the women’s basketball team at Temple, where Cosby was a trustee and proud alumnus, said she was assaulted after going to his home in January 2004 for some career advice.

Then-District Attorney Bruce Castor declined to charge Cosby, saying at the time that the comedian and his accuser could be portrayed in “a less than flattering light.” Constand eventually settled a lawsuit against Cosby in 2006 on confidential terms.

Her allegations and similar ones from other women in the years that followed did not receive wide attention at the time but exploded into view in late 2014, first online, then in the wider media, after comedian Hannibal Buress mocked the moralizing Cosby as a hypocrite and called him a rapist during a standup routine.

That opened the floodgates on even more allegations.

Women mostly from the world of modeling, acting or other entertainment fields told of being offered a drink by Cosby and waking up to find they had apparently been sexually assaulted. Cosby, through his representatives, accused some of the women of trying to extract money from him or get ahead in show business.

Earlier this year, The Associated Press persuaded a judge to unseal documents from the Constand lawsuit, and they showed the long-married Cosby acknowledging a string of affairs and sexual encounters.

Cosby, a longtime resident of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, testified that he obtained quaaludes in the 1970s to give to women. He denied giving women drugs without their knowledge and said he had used the now-banned sedative “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.'”

Constand said she was semi-conscious after he gave her pills he said would relax her. In his deposition, Cosby said he fondled Constand that night, taking her silence as a green light.

“I don’t hear her say anything. And I don’t feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped,” Cosby testified. He said Constand was not upset when she left.

Prosecutors on Wednesday said Cosby used wine and drugs to render her incapable of resistance after “the much younger, athletic victim” blocked two previous sexual advances.

Constand’s lawyer has said Constand is gay and was dating a woman around the time she met Cosby in the early 2000s.

The AP generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they agree to have their names published, as Constand has done.

 

meadowlark lemon passed sunday at age 83

 

Ex-Globetrotters Star Meadowlark Lemon Dies

PHOTO: Meadowlark Lemon, left, teases #33 Bob Godsey of the Washington Generals on Feb. 15, 1975.NY Daily News/Getty Images
Meadowlark Lemon, left, teases #33 Bob Godsey of the Washington Generals on Feb. 15, 1975.

Meadowlark Lemon, the “clown prince” of basketball’s barnstorming Harlem Globetrotters, whose blend of hook shots and humor brought joy to millions of fans around the world, has died. He was 83.

Lemon’s wife and daughter confirmed to the team that he died Sunday in Scottsdale, Arizona, Globetrotters spokesman Brett Meister said Monday. Meister did not know the cause of death.

Though skilled enough to play professionally, Lemon instead wanted to entertain, his dream of playing for the Globetrotters hatched after watching a newsreel of the all-black team at a cinema house when he was 11.

Lemon ended up becoming arguably the team’s most popular player, a showman known as much for his confetti-in-the-water-bucket routine and slapstick comedy as his half-court hook shots and no-look, behind-the-back passes.

A sign of his crossover appeal, Lemon was inducted into both the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the International Clown Hall of Fame.

“My destiny was to make people happy,” Lemon said as he was inducted into the basketball hall as a contributor to the game in 2003.

Lemon played for the Globetrotters during the team’s heyday from the mid-1950s to the late-1970s, delighting fans with his skills with a ball and a joke. Traveling by car, bus, train or plane nearly every night, Lemon covered nearly 4 million miles to play in over 100 countries and in front of popes and presidents, kings and queens. Known as the “Clown Prince of Basketball,” he averaged 325 games per year during his prime, that luminous smile never dimming.

“Meadowlark was the most sensational, awesome, incredible basketball player I’ve ever seen,” NBA great and former Globetrotter Wilt Chamberlain said shortly before his death in 1999. “People would say it would be Dr. J or even (Michael) Jordan. For me it would be Meadowlark Lemon.”

Lemon spent 24 years with the Globetrotters, doing tours through the racially torn South in the 1950s until he left in 1979 to start his own team.

He was one of the most popular athletes in the world during the prime of his career, thanks to a unique blend of athleticism and showmanship.

Playing against the team’s nightly foil, the Washington Generals, Lemon left fans in awe with an array of hook shots, no-look passes and the nifty moves he put on display during the Globetrotters’ famous circle while “Sweet Georgia Brown” played over the loudspeaker.

He also had a knack for sending the fans home with a smile every night, whether it was with his running commentary, putting confetti in a water bucket or pulling down the pants of an “unsuspecting” referee.

“We played serious games too, against the Olympic teams and the College All-Stars,” Lemon said. “But that didn’t stop us from putting the comedy in there.”

Lemon became an icon in the 1970s, appearing in movies, including “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh,” numerous talk shows and even a stint in the cartoon “Scooby Doo,” with Scatman Crothers doing his voice.

After leaving the Globetrotters, Lemon started his own team, The Bucketeers, and played on a variety of teams before rejoining the Globetrotters for a short tour in 1994.

Lemon spent the last years of his life trying to spread a message of faith through basketball. He became an ordained minister in 1986 and was a motivational speaker, touring the country to meet with children at basketball camps and youth prisons with his Scottsdale-based Meadowlark Lemon Ministries.

“I feel if I can touch a kid in youth prison, he won’t go to the adult prison,” Lemon said in 2003.

He never lost touch with his beloved sport. Lemon said he rose every day at 4 a.m. and, after prayers, headed for the gym to run sprints and practice shooting.

“I have to keep that hook shot working,” he said.

Born in 1932, Meadow George Lemon III — he lengthened his name after joining the Globetrotters — didn’t have money for a basketball when he was young, so he rigged up a makeshift hoop in his backyard in Wilmington, North Carolina. Using a coat hanger and onion sack for the basket, he made his first shot with an empty milk can.

Lemon first contacted the Globetrotters before his high school graduation and joined the team in 1954. He missed a game in 1955 because of a bad bowl of goulash in Germany, but that was the last one. What followed was a run, by his calculations, of more than 16,000 straight games that took him to places he never could have imagined.

“I was one of the most fortunate athletes that ever lived,” he said. “I was able to watch history.”

ABC NEWS***********

 

great gospel musicx