It’s Friday afternoon, so here’s your big story. (Check out the C-J link, with a photo of Sypher arriving at the courthouse.)
Karen Cypher arrived at the federal courthouse downtown about 3:00 today, where she was charged with extortion and lying to the FBI. The crimes carry potential penalties of two and five years in prison, and $250,000 fines for each count.
The FBI complaint charges that Sypher attempted to extort cash from Rick Pitino by threatening to harm his reputation over events that occurred in 2003. The lying charge in the complaint stems from Sypher telling agents that she didn’t know the identity of the person who made threatening phone calls to Pitino. The individuals making the threat weren’t identified in the complaint.
The complaint did not detail the nature of Sypher’s accusations. She’s been shopping her story around among media organizations, but none have made her claims public.
According to the FBI’s affidavit, she was demanding $10 million from Pitino at one point, and also submitted a list of demands for which she would “protect Rick Pitino’s name for life.”
If you weren’t sure whether or not Sypher was crazy, here’s her list of demands from the C-J story:
The affidavit goes on to say that Tim Sypher delivered to Pitino on March 6 a written list of demands from Karen Sypher calling for college tuition for her children, two cars of her choice, a house paid off, $3,000 cash per month and a lump-sum payment of $75,000 if Pitino leaves U of L.
She was released by the judge, but ordered not to talk about Pitino and her situation in the media. Her next court appearance is May 13.
Pitino’s attorney, Steve Pence, released the following statement:
“Last week, my client, Coach Rick Pitino, issued a statement disclosing that he had reported an extortion attempt against himself and his family to the FBI. Today, the United States brought criminal charges against the perpetrator of this scheme. While Coach Pitino takes no comfort in this prosecution and remains astonished by these events, it marks a turning point that allows him to focus with a clear mind once again on his family and his team. Coach Pitino is grateful for the support so many people have shown him in recent days. Given that this is a federal criminal prosecution in which we are cooperating, I have directed Coach Pitino not to comment any further about this case. Any inquiries should be referred to the United States Attorney’s Office or to me.”