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No decision on Autumn Jackson blood test yet

July 30, 1997
Web posted at: 4:28 p.m. EDT (2028 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The woman who claims to be the out-of-wedlock child of television celebrity Bill Cosby may agree to a paternity test, but her lawyer said that more legal consultations would be necessary to decide the matter.

Robert Baum, the lawyer for 22-year-old Autumn Jackson, said "no decision had been made" as to whether his client would submit to a paternity test.

"We're concerned about the conditions," he said, and added that Jackson would not participate in any tests until after her sentencing on October 22.

Jackson was convicted last week of trying to extort $40 million from Cosby by threatening to publicize her paternity claim.

Baum said he expected to resume consultations with Cosby's attorney on Wednesday.

However, the lawyer for Jackson's mother said Jackson would not submit to the test. Attorney Wanda Akin said on CNN's Larry King Live on Tuesday that such a test was not in Autumn Jackson's best interests.

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

Autumn Jackson's mother, Shawn Upshaw, talks about the paternity test on CNN's "Larry King Live"

Shawn Upshaw
icon AIFF or WAV(224K / 15 sec. audio)

Cosby had blood drawn for DNA testing Monday night in Los Angeles and, through his lawyer, challenged Jackson to do the same.

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

But Jackson's 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?"

In reaching their verdict in Jackson's case, jurors were forbidden to consider the paternity issue.

Cosby's test results are expected in three weeks. In addition, the man listed as "father" on 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 the father.

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

Cosby canceled the test once before

Cosby Jackson

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. However, because she has no previous criminal record, sentencing guidelines suggest she may receive closer to five years, her lawyer said.

Lawyer: Cosby takes threat of suit seriously

The defense attorney has said Jackson is considering filing a paternity lawsuit against Cosby, but Schmitt told CNN there are 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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