Prosecution rests, defense to present case in Sypher trial - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Prosecution rests, defense to present case in Sypher trial


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- The prosecution has rested in the federal extortion case of Karen Cunagin Sypher. The defense will begin presenting its side of the case Wednesday morning. On Tuesday, Sypher's attorney hinted at a defense strategy, picking apart the FBI's investigation. The big question is will Karen Sypher take the stand in her own defense.

After seven days and more than 20 witnesses, the prosecution has rested its case. It's unclear if Sypher will take the witness stand, but she has said repeatedly she wants "the truth out."

"I am stronger than ever and I'm waiting for my day," said Karen Cunagin Sypher last week.

On Tuesday, jurors watched the remainder of her interview with LMPD Sex Crimes Detective Sergeant Andy Abbott. It's the act of going to police that prosecutors argue supports the charge she retaliated against UofL basketball coach Rick Pitino six years after their sexual encounter. It's one of six charges she faces related to her alleged extortion plot against the coach.

Abbott testified Sypher's claims Pitino twice raped her were full of inconsistencies. Sypher's attorney Jim Earhart, went after Abbott, accusing him of poor detective work for not interviewing more people before turning his investigation over to prosecutors.

The Commonwealth's Attorney chose not to charge the coach.

Karen Sypher told Fox 41 a year ago she thought detectives did not thoroughly investigate her claims.

"That doesn't surprise me at all. Why so? It just all coincides together. It does not surprise me at all," said Sypher in a July 16, 2009 interview.

The prosecution's last witness was FBI agent Steve Wight. Earhart questioned Wight about the three phone calls placed to Pitino's cell phone. The caller, Lester Goetzinger, said he used pay phones to make all three calls but could not remember the location of the third call.

Earhart argues the third caller sounds nothing like the first.

"Within two weeks, the media will be notified of all the details and evidence of the rape," said Voicemail to Pitino's cell #3.

Sypher is accused trying to extort money and gifts from Pitino in exchange for her silence about their 2003 sexual encounter at a restaurant. Prosecutors were pushing to include evidence from a 2001 sexual harassment case to show that Sypher has a history of making rape claims against wealthy men. But that evidence was never admitted and never presented to the jury.

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