Charges Filed In Pitino Extortion Case

The FBI and the Acting US Attorney have announced that a criminal complaint was filed in a Louisville court, against Karen Sypher.The complaint charges that Sypher had intentions to extort money from University of Louisville Basketball Coach Rick Pitino.

According to an Affidavit, Sypher was responsible for telephone messages left on Pitino's cell phone by an unidentified male in February, 2009. The messages concerned allegations of a personal nature. Sypher is also accused of falsely denying to the FBI that she knew who made the calls. The caller told agents Sypher had prompted him to make the February calls.

Sypher's attorney arranged for her to voluntarily appear in court Friday afternoon on charges of extortion and lying to the FBI. She did not enter a plea and was released on her own recognizance. She'll be back in court May 13.

According to the Associated Press the complaint says Sypher's husband brought Pitino a written list of demands including a house, cars and money. It says Sypher wanted college tuition for her children, two cars of her choice, her house paid off and $3,000 per month. The complaint says those demands were later withdrawn when she
asked for $10 million instead. It isn't clear why she was demanding the money. Court documents say only that Pitino believed it was related to an encounter in 2003.

Pitino's attorney, Steve Pence, released the following statement:
"Last week, my client, Coach Rick Pitino, issued a statement disclosing that he had reported an extortion attempt against himself and his family to the FBI. Today, the United States brought criminal charges against the perpetrator of this scheme. While Coach Pitino takes no comfort in this prosecution and remains astonished by these events, it marks a turning point that allows him to focus with a clear mind once again on his family and his team. Coach Pitino is grateful for the support so many people have shown him in recent days. Given that this is a federal criminal prosecution in which we are cooperating, I have directed Coach Pitino not to comment any further about this case. Any inquiries should be referred to the United States Attorney's Office or to me."

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