Autumn Jackson gets 26 months for Cosby plot
December 12, 1997
Web posted at: 11:01 a.m. EST (1601 GMT)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- A New York judge sentenced Autumn Jackson
on Friday to 26 months in prison for her role in a $40
million extortion plot against comedian Bill Cosby, the man
she claims is her father.
Jackson could have received up to 6 years in prison. Cosby had
said he hoped Jackson would be sent somewhere where she could
Jackson was convicted on July 25 of plotting to extort the
money from Cosby by threatening to tell the tabloids she was
his out-of-wedlock daughter.
The defense portrayed the 23-year-old as a naive woman who
believed Cosby was her father and wanted to work out a
financial arrangement because of their relationship.
Prosecutors described her as a cold, calculating woman who
intended to blackmail Cosby for financial gain. Much of the
evidence that helped convict her came from Jackson herself,
including a taped conversation in which she called Cosby's
attorney to state her price.
"OK, what I can do is, I can cut it down the middle to, and
take off another five, and bring that to 25," jurors heard
her say when the taped evidence was presented in court.
"Twenty-five million dollars?" Cosby's attorney, John
Schmitt, asked. FBI agents had attached a recording device
to Schmitt's shirt for the meeting in his Manhattan office.
"Twenty-five," she agreed.
"The tapes really convinced us of her guilt," a juror said
after her conviction. "It was unquestionable, her purpose
and motive and the fact she remained undeterred."
Cosby testified he had had an affair in 1974 with Jackson's
mother, Shawn Thompson Upshaw, but did not believe he was
Autumn Jackson's father. He also admitted that he paid
Jackson's mother over the years to keep their extramarital
affair a secret, giving her about $40,000 a year until he set
up a trust fund for her.
The judge ruled that paternity was not an issue in the trial.
Cosby offered to undergo testing to resolve the paternity
question, and challenged Jackson to do likewise, but she
In a letter sent to federal Judge Barbara Jones, Jackson
apologized to the entertainer for her actions, admitting she
caused him "great pain and embarrassment." Also in the
letter was a plea from her attorney for leniency in