Court refuses to revive defamation suit against Bill Cosby

In this Aug. 22, 2017 photo Bill Cosby departs Montgomery County Courthouse after a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case in Norristown, Pa. (AP)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Court refuses to revive defamation suit against Bill Cosby

BOSTON: A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected a bid to revive a defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby by an actress who said the entertainer raped her in 1974 and then called her a liar after she made her accusations public in a newspaper interview.
The lawsuit, filed by Kathrine McKee, revolved around a letter that an attorney for Cosby sent New York’s Daily News in 2014 as a wave of women was coming forward to accuse the comedian of a string of sexual assaults dating back to the 1960s.
The statute of limitations on the alleged crimes had long expired, leading some accusers to pursue civil lawsuits, such as McKee’s. The lawsuits and accusations by dozens of women shattered the family-friendly reputation Cosby built in a career highlighted by his role in the 1980s television hit “The Cosby Show.”
Cosby, 80, has denied wrongdoing, saying any encounters with his accusers were consensual. He is awaiting an April retrial in Pennsylvania on charges he sexually assaulted a former basketball coach at his alma mater, Temple University.
McKee argued in her suit that the attorney’s letter to the newspaper called her a liar by saying the article was “defamatory, characterizing her claims as “wild” and suggesting she had a criminal record.
But the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston stood by a lower-court ruling that the entertainer could not be sued over the letter.
The decision found that McKee had made herself a public figure by wading into the controversy with Cosby, rejecting her claim that her dispute with the entertainer was a private one. As a public figure, McKee would have to prove that Cosby acted with malice in his response.
“The web of sexual assault allegations implicating Cosby, an internationally renowned comedian commonly referred to as ‘America’s Dad,’ constitutes a public controversy,” US Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch wrote for the three-judge panel.
William Salo, McKee’s attorney, said he disagreed with the decision and may appeal.
“They’re saying just because a famous person rapes you, you become a public figure if you complain about it,” he said.
Alan Greenberg, a lawyer for Cosby, welcomed the “well-reasoned decision confirming that there was no defamation.”
McKee sued Cosby in 2015, a year after the Nevada resident told the newspaper he raped her in a Detroit hotel room in 1974.
 


Indonesia sentences eight Taiwanese drug smugglers to death

Updated 8 min 1 sec ago
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Indonesia sentences eight Taiwanese drug smugglers to death

  • Around 250 tons of illegal drugs passed through Indonesia’s borders in 2016, according to figures from the National Narcotics Agency.
  • Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws, with sentences including the death penalty for smugglers who carry five or more grams.

Jakarta: Eight Taiwanese drug smugglers were sentenced to death by an Indonesian court Thursday after being nabbed with around a ton of crystal methamphetamine in a country that has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws.
The men were arrested during raids last July, when the drug network’s suspected leader was killed in a shootout with Indonesian police.
“The defendants have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of colluding and smuggling narcotics,” presiding judge Haruno Patriadi said as he passed sentence at the South Jakarta District Court.
Tipped off by their Taiwanese counterparts, Indonesian police said they discovered some 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of crystal meth — shipped by boat from China — packed inside about 50 boxes. The haul was reportedly worth some $144 million.
Some of the suspects were arrested at a beach where the drugs were delivered some 125 kilometers (77 miles) west of Jakarta, while others were apprehended in the suspected drug boat near Singaporean waters.
The sentence passed on the men — Liao Guan-Yu, Chen Wei-Cyuan, Hsu Yung-Li, Juang Jin Sheng, Sun Kuo Tai, Sun Chih-Feng, Kuo Chun Yuan, and Tsai Chih Hung — comes after 11 other Taiwanese drug smugglers were condemned to death in Indonesia in recent years.
Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest anti-drug laws, with sentences including the death penalty for smugglers who carry five or more grams.
Several foreign and Indonesian nationals have been executed by firing squad in recent years for drug trafficking, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in 2015, a case that sparked diplomatic outrage and a call to abolish the death penalty.
Capital punishment is carried out by firing squad in Indonesia, which has slowed the pace of its executions in recent years despite broad public support for the penalty.
President Joko Widodo has said Indonesia is in the grips of a drug “emergency” and called for police to shoot suspected drug dealers who attempt to resist arrest.
The police regularly announce drug busts including one in February when they seized 1.6 tons of crystal meth hidden on a Singapore-flagged ship between Indonesia’s Sumatra island and the city state.
A subsequent search of the ship turned up the huge haul of narcotics stuffed into some 81 rice sacks. Four Taiwanese crew were arrested including a 69-year-old man.
Around 250 tons of illegal drugs passed through Indonesia’s borders in 2016, according to figures from the National Narcotics Agency, with China listed as the biggest source country.