Sypher lawyer wants to strike entire jury pool - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Sypher lawyer wants to strike entire jury pool


LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Jury selection in the Karen Sypher extortion trial, which was expected to end Tuesday, will continue into Wednesday.  That's as Sypher's lawyer wants to strike the entire jury pool.  James Earhart says too many of the prospective jurors have formed opinions about the case.

A second group of potential jurors in the trial was being questioned on Tuesday.  Sypher is accused of trying to extort U of L basketball coach Rick Pitino in exchange for her silence about their 2003 sexual encounter at a Louisville restaurant.

Prosecutors say Sypher "tried to harm Pitino's reputation" by threatening to make public allegations that he raped her unless he agreed to a list of demands that included cars, tuition for her children and later $10 million.

Earhart says 60% of the written questionnaires potential jurors handed in indicated that they had already formed opinions on the case. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the attorney for the newspaper said jurors' questioning, which currently is being done out of earshot of reporters and courtroom spectators, should be heard by everyone present.  But Asst. U.S. Attorney Marisa Ford raised another concern -- would jurors answer honestly about sensitive questions involving sexuality, abortion, and other issues if they knew their comments were being made public?  That, in turn, led to the issue of whether Sypher could receive a fair trial if jurors' attitudes weren't made clear.

The judge ruled against the Courier-Journal's request.

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