July 15, 1997 in Nation/World

Cosby Extortion Jury Hears Tape Woman Claiming To Be His Child Sought $24 Million To Keep Quiet

Associated Press
 

Jurors in the extortion trial of the woman who claims to be Bill Cosby’s illegitimate daughter heard a tape Monday in which she cheerfully signed a $24 million contract to keep quiet.

Cosby’s lawyer, John Schmitt, had arranged for the Jan. 18 signing after going to the FBI at Cosby’s direction to complain about 22-year-old Autumn Jackson’s threats to tell her story to tabloid newspapers.

FBI agents attached a recording device to Schmitt’s shirt for the meeting in his Manhattan office with Jackson and Jose Medina, 51.

At one point, Jackson was heard on the tape chatting about an offer from the supermarket tabloid, the Globe: “I can tell you they tried not to give me a whole lot at all. … But it was enough to sustain me for the time being, I guess.”

After the sound of pens scratching on the contract, Schmitt is heard leaving the room and the tape ends. Jackson and Medina were arrested on extortion and conspiracy charges just after they had signed the papers.

Jackson could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy, extortion and violating the interstate travel act.

Prosecutors said Jackson had demanded $40 million from Schmitt in telephone calls played for the jury last week in federal court.

The FBI directed Schmitt to negotiate over the telephone with Jackson, who was staying with Medina at a Burbank, Calif., hotel where they were working on an unsold children’s television program.

Schmitt convinced the two to go to New York to sign an agreement to keep her allegations secret in exchange for $18 million to be paid to her and $6 million to be paid to Medina, who was supposed to write a book about her.

In that conversation, also played for jurors, Jackson is heard negotiating with Schmitt, agreeing to drop her demands to $25 million. Then she added, “If I take off another 1 (million dollars), will that help?”

Cosby and prosecutors agree the actor had an affair with Jackson’s mother, but they do not concede she is his child or that the more than $100,000 he has given to Jackson and her mother proves he is her father.

Jackson’s lawyers insist she broke no laws because she had been told her entire life that she was Cosby’s daughter and she believed she was negotiating for what she deserved after years of neglect.

In other testimony, a real estate agent testified Jackson was looking to buy a $1.25 million California home two months before she was accused of extortion.

Evelyn Taibai testified Jackson had called her early in November to inquire about a four-bedroom home on 34 acres that an advertisement had said was “suitable for horses, farming, livestock.”

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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