Guilty verdict in Pitino case

August 06, 2010

A Kentucky woman was convicted Thursday of demanding millions of dollars from Rick Pitino to keep secret their one-night stand in a restaurant, then claiming the Louisville basketball coach raped her after he reported the extortion.

Karen Cunagin Sypher, 50, was found guilty of three counts of extortion, two counts of lying to the FBI and one count of retaliating against a witness. She stared at the ceiling as the verdict was read.

The case involved a 2003 sexual encounter between Pitino and Sypher, who later married and divorced longtime Pitino aide Tim Sypher, at a table inside a restaurant closed for the night. Pitino testified she came on to him and the sex was consensual. After she was charged, Karen Sypher told police it was rape, but Pitino was never charged.

Last year, Pitino received three threatening phone calls and two letters demanding cash and gifts for Sypher to keep the tryst secret. One of the letters shown to the jury was a handwritten note from Sypher that asked for cars, tuition for her children and her mortgage to be paid off.

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