Woman Found Guilty of Extorting Basketball Coach Pitino

Bizarre case rocked the Bluegrass state

By Greg Wilson
|  Thursday, Aug 5, 2010  |  Updated 12:00 PM PDT
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Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, right, is accompanied by an unidentified man as he arrives at the federal courthouse to testify in the trial of Karen Cunagin Sypher in Louisville, Ky., Wednesday, July 28, 2010. Sypher is charged with trying to extort cash, cars and a house to stay quiet about a sexual liaison.

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A woman who had sex with University of Louisville basketball Coach Rick Pitino in a restaurant and told cops she was raped has been found guilty of extortion in a bizarre trial tat rocked the Bluegrass state.

Karen Cunagin Sypher, 50, faces up to 26 years in prison for demanding millions from Pitino after the 2003 tryst. The jury reached its verdict after deliberating for just five hours.

Sypher, 50, was convicted of extortion, lying to authorities and retaliating against a witness. Pitino, who is married, was never charged, though he admitted having what he called consensual sex that lasted just 15 seconds, because, he said, she told him she was "extremely fertile."

Sypher did become pregnant, though it is not known if it was by Pitino. The coach gave her $3,000 which he said was for health insurance, and sent his assistant to take her to a Cincinnati abortion clinic. The assistant later married her.

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