Bill Cosby's alleged daughter extorted the actor-comedian for $40M. However, when it was time to prove she is genuinely Cosby's child, the young lady declined to take a DNA test and landed a verdict of 12 years in prison.
Throughout a long-standing career in the entertainment industry, Bill Cosby, the first black man to win an Emmy Award for acting, was top on the tabloids for numerous scandals. Even after he retired, Cosby continued to make headlines for scandalous affairs.
One of the American stand-up comedian's many scandals was an extramarital affair with Shawn Berkes, a secretary he met at a Los Angeles nightclub. While Cosby's wife, Camille, was taking care of their home Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, the star was away in Los Angeles, working or with his mistress.
Picture of comedian Bill Cosby [left]. Autumn Jackson and Shawn Thompson Upshaw at Federal court on July 11, 1997 in New York [right] | Photo: Getty Images
AN AFFAIR WITH SHAWN BERKES
In 1971, seven years after Cosby and Camille's young marriage at a sizeable multipurpose hall at a Catholic church in Olney, Maryland, the couple living in Los Angeles decided to move because they wanted a change.
At the time, Cosby was becoming more successful with his career, and Camille once said as the family made more money, it affected their lifestyle. However, while the comedian's wife moved to Shelburne Falls with their three children, he shuffled between Los Angeles where he worked and the family's new home.
Bill Cosby and Camille Cosby speak onstage at the Apollo Theater 75th Anniversary Gala on June 8, 2009 in New York | Photo: Getty Images
During this time, Cosby met Berkes with whom he may have fathered a child. While the "Ghost Dad" actor's wife was 3,000 miles away with their kids, Cosby was busy spending time with his mistress.
Cosby met the secretary at a nightclub in Los Angeles, and it wasn't until later that the actor revealed he instigated their relationship. Once reflecting on the extramarital affair Cosby who met Berkes in the early 1970s, testified to requesting her number.
Actor/stand-up comedian Bill Cosby at the Montgomery County Courthouse for the fifth day of his retrial for sexual assault charges on April 13, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images
He revealed the next thing he did was a call to invite Berkes to Las Vegas, which was how their romance started. However, after enjoying their secret affair, Berkes confronted the comedian, saying she gave birth to his child.
However, Cosby denied fathering the child, but he went on to pay for her care and even had a relationship with his alleged daughter. According to the comedian's statement, Berkes said she had no intentions to embrace his family after showing him Autumn Jackson's photos, but she later started borrowing money.
Bill Cosby prepares to film the new opening sequence for "The Cosby Show's" seventh season at Kaufman-Astoria Studios in New York in August 1990 | Photo: Getty Images
He also said she always hinted at how Jackson was his daughter, and she hadn't told anyone. The "Let's Do It Again" actor paid an estimated $100,000 out of concern that she would go public about their affair and the children.
But Cosby was careful enough not to put his name on checks in case Berkes ever thought to use it against him. He also paid for Jackson's college education through his lawyer.
Bill Cosby visits Town Hall at SiriusXM Studios on November 7, 2013 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images
Aside from paying for Jackson's schooling, the comedian started having conversations with his alleged daughter. Cosby confirmed he sometimes talked to Jackson and advised her to say school, but he never allowed her to call him father.
The actor-comedian considered opting for a DNA test, but he was scared it would go public. However, he said he told Camille about the affair. In an Oprah Winfrey interview, Camille also confirmed that she was aware of the affair long before the girl's extortion attempt.
Bill Cosby leaves the Montgomery County Courthouse on February 27, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania | Photo: Getty Images
JACKSON'S THREATS TO GET MONEY
In the years that passed, the once young Jackson's had grown into an adult that would later try to extort money from Cosby. Despite being very careful in keeping his affair with Berkes a secret, when his alleged daughter Jackson grew up, she tried getting money from Cosby with threats of going public about being his daughter.
When Jackson was about 17, she visited Cosby at his workplace, and during this time, the girl referred to him as "Mr. Cosby." However, this was the pair's last physical encounter till she went to college, but they did remain in contact through phone calls.
Bill Cosby performs onstage at Funny Or Die Clubhouse + Facebook Pop-Up HQ @ SXSW on March 10, 2014 in Austin, Texas | Photo: Getty Images
Cosby once revealed he began speaking to Jackson more frequently during her college years with intentions to help her succeed. However, one day, his secretary notified him about a call from someone who claimed to be Autumn Cosby.
When Cosby called back, the young lady who had dropped out of college spoke to him about some TV project she was working on with Medina in Los Angeles and that she wanted to borrow $2,100. She also mentioned needing money for her car, which she was about to lose.
Cosby asked why she had used his last name when she called, but the young lady replied, saying she did not say anything about their relationship. The comedian then gave Jackson $3,000, but that wasn't satisfying, and she started threatening the actor's lawyer.
Bill Cosby speaks onstage at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund 25th Awards Gala on November 11, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images
Cosby revealed she told his lawyer she had an unsigned contract from the Globe and demanded millions for her silence. By this time, Cosby was already getting tired of her threats.
The actor made it known he told Jackson he would $200 a week for her to attend film classes, and that was all she was getting. But, Jackson went on demanding $40 million, and this time, Cosby had his lawyer call her mother to notify her about the girl's threats. A furious Cosby said:
"I wanted her mother to know what she was doing."
Cosby was finally done with Jackson's scheme to get money out of him, and in the end, Cosby filed a lawsuit against the young lady. Jackson was convicted for trying to extort money from the actor, and during their legal dispute, Cosby finally demanded a DNA test be done.
However, Attorney Wanda Akin later said in an interview that the paternity test was not in Autumn Jackson's best interests. The decision, she said, was reached after consulting with Jackson's attorney Robert Baum.
Bill Cosby walks through the Montgomery County Courthouse for day fourteen of his sexual assault retrial on April 26, 2018 in Norristown | Photo: Getty Images
But Cosby's attorney said the DNA was in Jackson's best interests as the comedy icon wanted her to be sure who her biological father was. However, Jackson's mother, Berkes, didn't agree to this and said Cosby should have taken the test earlier.
Jackson was later charged with 12 years in prison, and the paternity issue wasn't considered. She was, however, released one day after conviction, and Edward Zas, the attorney who argued her appeal, said she was relieved to be out.
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