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Cosby takes stand in extortion trial

July 15, 1997
Web posted at: 2:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Entertainer Bill Cosby took the stand Tuesday on day five of the trial of a woman charged with trying to extort $40 million from him.

Cosby testified that he once told the woman who claims to be his daughter, "I am not your father" -- though he said he also told her he would be a "father figure" for her.

The 22-year-old woman, Autumn Jackson, is charged with trying to extort money from Cosby in exchange for not selling her story to the tabloid The Globe.

Cosby admitted Tuesday to having had an affair with Jackson's mother, Shawn Thompson Upshaw, in 1974.

When asked how many times he slept with her, Cosby said, "I remember once."

Cosby, who has been married for 33 years, said he initiated the relationship with the woman, whom he met in a Los Angeles hotel.


"I asked her to dance and we did. Then I asked for her phone number and wanted to see her," he said.

A few years later, Cosby said, he contacted her again and asked her to meet him in Las Vegas.

"We were sitting in a living room on the 30th floor of the Hilton Hotel," he said, "We were talking. It was the daytime and Shawn showed me a picture of a child."

He said he was then told, "This is your daughter."

Cosby said he responded, "That's not my daughter."

Cosby was in his 30s at the time of the encounter and said he did not tell his wife about the affair until about six years after it happened.

While Cosby denies being the woman's father, he has admitted to making payments of more than $100,000 over the years to both Jackson and her mother.

His testimony is expected to continue throughout the day.

Jackson was arrested in January. She and her alleged accomplices, Jose Medina and Boris Sabas, were charged with conspiracy, extortion and engaging in interstate commerce to commit crime.

If convicted, they could face prison terms of 12 years and fines of $750,000.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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