Prosecutors: Karen Sypher tried to extort money earlier
Louisville, Ky. (WDRB-TV Fox 41) -- Karen Sypher's extortion trial hasn't even started, but Fox 41 has already learned the prosecution's plans to get her convicted.
Sypher is accused of trying to extort $10 million from U of L basketball coach Rick Pitino after the two had a sexual encounter in a Louisville restaurant.
In a 16-page brief filed this week, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kuhn lays out his case against Karen Sypher.
Kuhn says the case involving Pitino is strikingly similar to another one.
He claims in 1999, Sypher agreed to go to Atlanta for a business conference with Leonard LeGrande. LeGrande says in a sworn deposition he and Sypher shared a hotel room and had consensual sex. She then started working for LeGrande at his auto glass business.
A few weeks later she told him she was pregnant and he says Sypher offered to have an abortion. Two years later -- after their relationship ended and she was fired-- Sypher sued LeGrande and his company. She accused him of sexual harassment, saying he forced himself on her in the Atlanta hotel room. That lawsuit never resulted in any criminal charges.
This letter will also be a crucial part of the case against Sypher. Fox 41 obtained the document, written on a U of L "to do" sheet. When Sypher spoke to us exclusively, she claimed Pitino offered cash and other items to stay quiet about their sexual encounter.
"And he says, ‘What do you want me to do, Karen? I'll give you $100,000, and I'll go to the Suns. I've already been offered,'" said Sypher in a April 24, 2009 interview with FOX 41.
Kuhn also plans to introduce taped phone conversations between Sypher's son Jacob Wise and her estranged husband Tim Sypher. He's the equipment manager for U of L basketball. Karen says her son delivered the list to Tim, who later gave it to Pitino. Wise is also expected to testify at the federal trial.
The list ends with this promise: "If all is accepted, I will protect Rick Pitino's name for life."
The prosecution will enter the deposition LeGrande gave for the lawsuit because he has passed away, and testimony from an employee of the auto glass business will also be submitted.