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Woman refuses test to see if Bill Cosby is her father

Cosby Jackson July 29, 1997
Web posted at: 11:27 p.m. EDT (0327 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The woman convicted of trying to extort money from actor Bill Cosby will not submit to a test to determine if the entertainer is her father, the lawyer for her mother said Tuesday.

Attorney Wanda Akin said on CNN's Larry King Live that such a test is not in Autumn Jackson's best interests. The decision, she said, was reached after consulting with Jackson's attorney Robert Baum.

Cosby had blood drawn for DNA testing Monday night in Los Angeles and, through his lawyer, challenged the 22-year-old woman who claims to be his out-of-wedlock daughter to do the same so they can determine whether he is her biological father.

Cosby is doing it "for Autumn," according to Cosby's attorney Jack Schmitt. "She is confused about who her father is; she is entitled to know," Schmitt told CNN Tuesday.

'Why didn't he ... take it earlier?'

But her mother Shawn Thompson Upshaw told Larry King that Cosby should have taken a paternity test long ago. "Why didn't he feel guilty earlier and take it earlier?"

"My point is this: They wouldn't allow it in the court system now. Why should we bend over backwards and jump through a hoop just because all of a sudden now he feels guilty?"

Jackson was convicted Friday of trying to extort as much as $40 million from Cosby as a payoff to prevent her from going to the tabloids with her story that she may be Cosby's illegitimate daughter. Jurors were forbidden to consider the paternity issue in reaching their verdict.

Cosby's test results are expected in three weeks. In addition, the man listed as "father" on Autumn Jackson's birth certificate, Jerald Jackson, has submitted blood samples for a paternity test. The one-time boyfriend of Jackson's mother believes he is Autumn's father.

But Upshaw told Larry King: "I can say my feeling and my belief is that Mr. Jackson is not the father."

Cosby canceled the test once before

During Autumn Jackson's trial, Cosby testified that he had an extramarital affair with her mother in 1974. But Cosby said he does not believe he is Jackson's father. Cosby also testified that he had scheduled a paternity test years ago, but canceled it for fear the results might become public.

Schmitt's trial testimony was critical to Jackson's conviction. Jurors said FBI-recorded audiotapes of the lawyer's conversations with Jackson -- during which a $24 million "deal" was struck for her continued silence -- were key evidence in their decision to convict Jackson on federal charges of conspiracy and extortion.

"He (Cosby) feels better about this, because he no longer has to worry about the threats that have come over time from Shawn. He doesn't have to worry about the phone ringing and it being Shawn or Autumn Jackson making demands of him," Schmitt said. "That is over now."

Jackson is free on bail, but faces up to 12 years in prison at her sentencing on October 22. However, because she has no previous criminal record, sentencing guidelines suggest she may receive closer to five years, Baum said.

Lawyer: Cosby takes threat of paternity suit seriously

The defense attorney has said Jackson is considering filing a paternity lawsuit against Cosby, but Schmitt told CNN there is no grounds for that.

"Paternity suits are to establish support payments. She's an adult. She's not entitled to any support from any parent," Schmitt said. But he and Cosby have taken the possibility of a paternity suit seriously, he added.

During the trial, Baum argued that Jackson's "belief" that Cosby is her father explained her actions, suggesting she had merely engaged in what she thought were lawful negotiations to obtain what was rightfully hers as Cosby's child.

The judge instructed the jurors to ignore the issue of paternity in their deliberations, because he said it was irrelevant to the case. After the trial, jurors said the paternity question was not a factor in their decision.

Cosby, 59, has four daughters with his wife of 33 years, Camille.

The actor acknowledged having contact with Jackson and her mother over the years and paying them more than $100,000 before setting up a trust fund. Evidence showed Cosby paid $25,000 to cover Jackson's tuition and living expenses at a Florida community college in 1994-95. For a while, he paid Upshaw $750 a week.

Baum said Cosby helped them financially to assure that they kept his affair with Upshaw a secret.

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