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Police jail two after attempt to extort grieving Cosbys

Cosby

Two possible new witnesses interviewed by investigators

Latest developments:

January 21, 1997
Web posted at: 5:00 a.m. EST

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A woman claiming to be Bill Cosby's illegitimate daughter was arrested Monday and charged with attempting to extort millions of dollars from the entertainer, federal prosecutors said.

Autumn Jackson, 22, demanded the money to keep from going to a tabloid with the story. She and Jose Medina, 54, were arrested Saturday at a New York law firm representing Cosby after they went to pick up a purported $24 million settlement to "end everything," said U.S. Attorney Mary White.

Jackson and Medina were scheduled to appear Tuesday in federal court. If convicted of extortion, they each face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Cosby family is in seclusion following the burial Sunday of the entertainer's only son, Ennis. The younger Cosby was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman last week in Los Angeles.

Cosby gave her money, denies paternity

ABC News reported that a member of the Cosby family confirmed the details of its report but "categorically" denied that Jackson was Cosby's daughter. The family member said Cosby has a birth certificate proving she is not his daughter.

According to an FBI affidavit, the family of Bill Cosby apparently had made payments to Autumn Jackson for educational purposes for several years.

Authorities say that they do not believe that there is any connection between the murder and the alleged extortion.

Potential witnesses called "good lead"

Ennis

In another development, Los Angeles police said late Monday they were interviewed and released two possible new witnesses in the killing

Commander Tim McBride said the two men were "a good lead and we're following it." But McBride also cautioned, "We shouldn't draw any conclusions at this time."

Police were led to the two by an area resident who spotted a car the resident thought matched the sketch of a witness vehicle.

The men were detained in suburban Torrance, then taken to a Los Angeles police facility, said Torrance Police Lt. Steve Gilliam. No other details were released.

Police said they have received hundreds of leads since publishing a composite sketch of the murder suspect. But most of their information has come from the 47-year-old friend, an aspiring screenwriter, who came to shine her headlights on Cosby while he changed his tire on a freeway ramp.

The woman fled at the approach of a menacing white male on foot, and returned to find Cosby's body next to his car. He had been shot in the head.

Tabloids offer six-figure rewards

composite

Police say the man, who was described as being of average height, was believed to be driving a blue hatchback automobile. They say they have a license number, but are not sure of the state.

Also Monday, two tabloids have offered six-figure rewards leading to the arrest and conviction of Cosby's killer.

The National Enquirer offered a reward of $100,000 and the Globe $200,000 after Bill Cosby's publicist, David Brokaw, said Cosby would prefer that tabloids spend their money on rewards rather than buying information about his son's murder.

 
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