July 27, 1997 in Nation/World

Cosby Minor Player In Extortion Trial, Says Juror

Associated Press

During three days of deliberations, the jury in the extortion trial of Autumn Jackson hardly talked about Bill Cosby - the person who made the trial headline news, a juror said Saturday.

Cosby was barely discussed, Debra Hyman said, as he jury worked methodically to reach its verdict that Jackson tried to extort $40 million from the man she claimed is her father in exchange for not going to the tabloids with her story.

“They didn’t talk that much about him,” the 36-year-old Hyman said in a telephone interview a day after the jury convicted Jackson of extortion, conspiracy and crossing state lines to commit a crime.

“While his words were important, they weren’t the evidence of the crime,” she said. “He was a victim. His star status had nothing to do with it.”

Hyman, an investment manager and mother of two children, also said she and the other jurors felt sorry for the young woman because they considered her to be a victim, as well as a perpetrator. “I hope the judge is lenient with her and maybe she gets counseling,” she said.

Jackson faces up to 12 years in prison and $750,000 in fines when she is sentenced Oct. 22.

She was a victim, Hyman said, because her mother and grandmother had told her for 22 years that she was Cosby’s daughter. And whether or not she really is his daughter, she lived all her life “with this knowledge and this pain,” Hyman said.

Cosby has acknowledged an affair with Jackson’s mother but denied he is the woman’s father.

Hyman said jurors believed Jackson “was ripe pickings for a shyster, that people used her all through her life. Her mother used her to gain leverage on Bill Cosby, her grandmother used her, and now these crooks used her.”

Co-defendant Jose Medina, 51, of Bethesda, Ohio, was found guilty of the same charges as Jackson. A third defendant, Boris Sabas, 42, was convicted of conspiracy and interstate crime but acquitted of extortion.

Despite feeling sorry for Jackson, Hyman said, the jury of seven men and five women followed the judge’s instructions not to let sympathy sway them.

“Everybody has free will,” she said.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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