A jury found Karen Sypher guilty of three counts of extortion, two counts of lying to the FBI and one count of retaliating against a witness in the case involving Louisville's Rick Pitino. She faces a maximum sentence of 26 years in prison, but will probably get seven or eight when sentenced Oct. 27.
Rick Pitino testified before a packed courtroom on Wednesday that he did not rape Karen Sypher in 2003 or force her to have an abortion.
"There was one motive from the day this all started and that was to blackmail me," he said.
Pitino said he was approached by Sypher at Porcini restaurant after it closed on the night of July 31, 2003. Sypher, he said, began rubbing his leg as they were sitting at the bar and then suggested that they go to a booth.
After weeks of legal wrangling, it's time for the main event. Karen Sypher, right, the former car-show model and auto-glass saleswoman who had crazy sex with Louisville's Rick Pitino in a restaurant booth nearly seven years ago, goes on trial Monday in U.S. District Court in Louisville on charges of extortion, retaliating against Pitino and making false statements to federal agents.
Forty-five reporters have been accredited to cover the trial, which is expected to last two weeks. If convicted, Sypher faces up to 26 years in prison.
When Sypher had her one-night fling with Pitino, she was married to Tim Sypher, Pitino's equipment manager. Pitino, who is married with five living children, is expected to testify Tuesday.
Sypher is alleged to have demanded college tuition for her children, two cars of her choice, $3,000 a month, and her mortgage pained in full, promising "if all is accepted, I will protect Rick Pitino's name for life."
Although a "moral depravity" clause in Pitino's contract could cost the 56-year-old Louisville coach his job, it appears unlikely university officials will take that course. But the married father of five may not recover from the damage to his reputation.
Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News writes: "If the university is willing to put its reputation on the line and keep him on, fine. Pitino has the strong backing of [athletic director Tom] Jurich. But be warned, this is going to get ugly. Pitino will not be able to spin this story, which will be headline news until the end of a trial that has not even been scheduled yet."
Louisville coach Rick Pitino told Metro Police that he not only had consensual sex with Karen Sypher, but gave her $3,000 to have an abortion, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
The newspaper obtained the police report under the Kentucky Open Records Act.
Sypher alleges that she was raped twice by Pitino, but prosecutors who have reviewed the claims say Pitino won't be charged. Sypher has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to extort money from Pitino in exchange for her silence about the alleged crimes, and with lying to the FBI. She has pleaded not guilty.