Sypher appeal claims trial was unfair - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Sypher appeal claims trial was unfair

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- Karen Sypher's defense team is trying to overturn her conviction, which came down one year ago today. Her appeal reveals details about how the woman convicted of extorting U of L head basketball coach Rick Pitino is not giving up.

On August 5, 2010, a jury convicted Sypher on seven counts of extortion, lying to the FBI, and retaliation against a witness. But it's a day Sypher herself may not want to remember.

"I don't know if she knows what today is. We try not to remind her of anniversaries and milestones because Karen is somebody that is somewhat eccentric that way," says James Faller of U.S. Justice Watch. He's assisting Sypher with her defense.

During the 8-day trial last summer, a string of witnesses revealed sordid details about Sypher in her attempt to gain cars and cash from Pitino. She claims Pitino raped her and forced her to have an abortion. Pitino admits the sex was consensual. A year after the guilty verdicts, Sypher's new legal team has filed an appeal. "Karen literally did not have a defense attorney put on any sort of defense for her," says Faller.

Sypher's new attorney David Nolan claims in a 55-page appeal she did not get a fair trial. He believes lying witnesses, a refusal to change venue, and prosecutor misconduct sent Sypher to prison. The defense team also argues Sypher's former attorney James Earhart is also to blame.

Nolan says, "I think he was in a situation where if he would have gone after the facts in the case, I think he would have been ostracized."

WDRB stopped by Sypher's house to talk to her family, but no one was home. Faller says the kids visited their mom a few weeks ago. "Karen, she's adjusting OK. She had some trouble at first. That's an unusual society to be in. She's involved in some factory setting where she moves cartons around."

Sypher was sentenced in February to seven years and three months. She's hoping the appeal will get her out and back to her family much sooner. Faller says Sypher has not spoken with her youngest child, Annabel. Tim Sypher has custody of her.

Because of errors in the appeal, Nolan has until next Friday to re-file.

Click here for an earlier story on the Sypher case with complete background.

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