Karen Sypher indicted on four new charges - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Karen Sypher indicted on four new charges

By Bennett Haeberle WDRB-TV Fox 41 News

The woman accused of trying to extort UofL basketball coach Rick Pitino is facing four new charges.

A federal grand jury has returned a superceding indictment against Karen Cunagin-Sypher that adds new charges and replaces others.

Sypher has pleaded not guilty to charges of extortion and lying to the FBI. Authorities say her alleged extortion plot grew out of a sexual encounter with Pitino0 that occurred at Porcini restaurant in 2003.

In the indictment returned Wednesday, one charge asserts Sypher "retaliated" against Pitino when she filed a police report in July claiming she was raped her. The indictment alleges she filed the claims to get back at Pitino. Prosecutors later found her claims "void of credibility."

Another count states Sypher lied to the FBI about her alleged sexual relationship with Lester Goetzinger, the man who admitted to making threatening phone calls to Pitino in February. 

Two other charges claim she tried to extort Pitino on March 6th and 22nd, dates that coincide around the time she met with Pitino at the Yum Center on UofL's campus.

It was during those meetings that Sypher reportedly presented Pitino with a list of demands that included, tuition for her children, cars, a stipend and later $10 million.

In an interview with LMPD sex crime detectives in June and July, Sypher claimed Pitino raped her inside the Porcini restaurant.

"And I said no, what are you doing? what are you doing? I've never been through this before," said Sypher, in an LMPD interview.

Shortly after prosecutors dismissed her claims, Sypher told Fox 41 News: "It just all coincides together, it just not surprise me at all."

Reached by phone Wednesday, her attorney says the new charges don't change the case.

"She's been thrown out of her house and they are trying to take her kid away. She feels like they are trying to pile it up 10, 20, 100 charges. At some point it becomes what's the point?" said Jim Earhart, Sypher's attorney.

In August, Pitino apologized for his "indiscretion" but two weeks later lashed out at reporters after Sypher's interview with police surfaced.

"This is blackmail. I was told seven months ago that if I fought it my life would be pure hell. And I went home to comfort my wife because it has been pure hell and don't tell me it's been pure hell for other people because I'm not the one that went to Fox 41 and gave all these allegations," said Pitino, on August 26th.

Reached by phone, Steve Pence, Pitino's attorney, said: "We anticipated this. Coach Pitino continues to cooperate with authorities. We would like this to go to trial sooner than later."

No trial date has been set. Sypher will be arraigned on Dec. 22.

She could face up to 26 years in prison if convicted.

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