The jury in the federal extorition trial of Karen Sypher has found her guilty of all six charges brought against her.
Sypher was accused of threatening to go public with allegations of rape and other damaging information against U of L basketball coach Rick Pitino unless he met her financial demands. She was also charged with lying to the FBI and retaliating against a witness.
Sypher will remain free until her sentencing hearing in late October. Prosecutor John Kuhn says he’s not willing to predict what sentence Sypher will receive.
“The maximum statutory sentence, I believe, is 26 years here with all of the six charges,” he says. “But the sentences will depend on, in part, the advisory sentencing guidelines and the judge has considerable discretion on what to do with that.”
Her attorney, James Earhart, rested his case Wednesday without calling any witnesses. In closing arguments he said the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and that police failed to fully investigate Sypher’s sexual assualt claims because of Pitino’s stature.
Pitino said he had a brief consensual encounter with Sypher in 2003. Police say their investigation found that Sypher’s claims lacked credibility.
Prosecutor Marisa Ford told jurors that Pitino was the victim of a shakedown by a woman who was looking for “a golden parachute.”
(Information for this story also provided by WFPL’s Gabe Bullard).