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Jurors felt woman intended to ruin Cosby's reputation

Autumn Jackson

Mother defends her daughter on 'Larry King Live'

Latest developments:

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The woman who claims to be Bill Cosby's illegitimate daughter was convicted by a jury convinced that she planned to ruin the entertainer's reputation.

Autumn Jackson, 22, was found guilty Friday of extortion, conspiracy and crossing state lines to commit a crime, and she broke down in tears when jurors returned the verdict. Jackson faces up to 12 years in prison and $750,000 in fines at her sentencing October 22.

Another defendant, Jose Medina, 51, was convicted of the same three charges, and a third, Boris Sabas, 42, was convicted of conspiracy and crossing states lines.

"She is absolutely devastated," said Jackson's attorney, Robert Baum. "She kept saying, 'How could they? How could they?' She was inconsolable."

vxtreme Larry King talks to Shawn Upshaw, the mother of Autumn Jackson.

Juror David Henkel said jurors felt the key to their verdict was the decision made by Jackson and her co-defendants to continue demanding money even after Cosby's attorney warned them that it was extortion.

"The fact that they still carried it out was our convincing proof," Henkel said. "She has problems."

Cosby, who is reported to be in France, and his wife of 33 years, Camille, issued a short statement through his lawyer.

"The Cosbys appreciate the efforts of the prosecutors who brought this case and the efforts of the jurors who rendered a just verdict," the statement said.

Jurors disregarded paternity issue

Jackson's mother, Shawn Thompson Upshaw, said Friday night on "Larry King Live" that she was "devastated and very disappointed" at the outcome.

Autumn Jackson made an offer to Cosby's attorney in a telephone call
icon 320 K/30 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

Upshaw said Cosby should have called her in January and told her what was going on and let her handle it "as he called me about everything else, instead of the day before."

"You didn't know about it?" King asked.

"I had no clue."

Upshaw said Jackson was definitely Cosby's daughter, and that she had agreed to keep it a secret in exchange for his assurance that she and her daughter would always be taken care of.

"I don't know how he can live with himself, knowing what she faces," Upshaw said. "Because she made phone calls? She wanted love and affection, and he said he'd be there for her 24 hours a day, and he let her down."

Cosby and Jackson in a home video

The jurors said they did not consider the paternity issue in their decision, as they were advised by District Judge Barbara Jones.

"Nobody has the right to extort money from their father," said juror Deborah Hyman.

Cosby denied he was the girl's father during the trial, but admitted he had an extramarital affair in 1974 with her mother, Shawn Thompson Upshaw.

However, defense attorney Robert Baum made Jackson's "belief" that Cosby is her father the centerpiece of his case. He argued that Jackson never intended to extort, and that she had merely engaged in what she thought were lawful negotiations as Cosby's child.

Tapes of those negotiations reveal that Jackson initially asked Cosby for $40 million to buy her silence. But she later agreed to a $24 million payoff -- $18 million for herself and $6 million for Medina -- not to publish her story or bother Cosby again.

She also agreed to reject a $25,000 offer to sell her story to "The Globe," a supermarket tabloid.

'The express train to easy money'

Prosecutors acknowledged that Cosby had contact with Jackson and her mother over the years and paid them over $100,000. Evidence showed that Cosby paid $25,000 to cover Jackson's tuition and living expenses at a Florida community college in 1994-95, and that he set up a trust fund that paid Jackson's mother $750 a week.

"I will be a father figure," he told the girl once, "but I'm not your father."

Prosecutor Paul Engelmayer called Jackson "an extortionist driven by greed." She was "threatening to fire point blank at Mr. Cosby's most valuable asset, his good name," Engelmayer said in his closing arguments. "She wanted to ride the express train to easy money."

Defense attorney Baum contended that Cosby helped Jackson and Upshaw financially as long as they kept his affair with Upshaw secret.

"She had been living in a box her entire life in which she was placed by Mr. Cosby," Baum told the jury. "He made a condition of her life that she maintain the secret, which he held over the head of Autumn and her mother."

The defendants were accused of conceiving of their plan in January when Medina was trying to produce a children's TV show with an amateur crew that included Jackson and Sabas.

Appeal now, paternity suit later?


Prosecutors introduced as evidence documents, letters and tapes seized from a suite in the Burbank Holiday Inn that Medina was renting for his fledgling production company. Jackson and Medina met when she was a front desk clerk at the hotel, and Medina claimed he owned the rights to Jackson's story and intended to write it for "The Globe."

Medina was convicted of fraud eight years ago in Kansas for operating as a mortgage broker without a license. He served no jail time, and was put on probation.

He is the only defendant in this case who is not free on bail. He has been in custody since his arrest in January.

Neither Jackson, her mother, Medina nor Sabas testified during the trial.

Jackson could receive as much as 12 years in prison, and Baum said federal sentencing guidelines call for at least five years. He said, however, the judge may choose to ignore the guidelines and give her probation with no jail time.

Baum said he intends to appeal the decision, and may also file a paternity suit against Cosby. He said Jackson still believes Cosby is her father, and she is entitled to his support.

"I can't imagine a father would feel good seeing his daughter go to jail," he said.

Asked if she thought Cosby would recommend leniency toward her daughter, Upshaw said, "I would hope he would.

"How can he send a child he's been in contact with and known and loved for 22 years and expect her to go to jail because she wrote a few letters and used the telephone? How can you make the child suffer for his indiscretions and mine?"

Reuters contributed to this report.

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