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Karen Sypher Trial: The Opening Arguments


Karen Sypher arrived in Federal Court in Louisville this morning to face six charges of extortion, lying to the FBI and Retaliation against a witness. The scene was somewhat bizarre (as expected) and the lawyer in me found a lot of the details fascinating. But I will attempt to do what most believe I cannot, and do at least one post without any analysis or sarcastic commentary (I will save that for later tonight). Instead, I will summarize the opening statements of both the United States and Karen Sypher. Each side’s version of event has a couple of similarities but diverges on key points. So here were the arguments laid down by the two sides this morning in court:


— On July 31, 2003, Rick Pitino and Karen Sypher have sex in Porcini’s after meeting for the first time in the restaurant.

— Pitino Assistant Vinnie Tatum was present for the entire encounter

— After the encounter, which occurred after the restaurant closed, Sypher gave Pitino a ride home and asked if she could get basketball tickets.

— Soon thereafter, Sypher realizes she is pregnant and on August 21, signs a paper at a Women’s Clinic saying she wants to have an abortion.

— On August 25, Sypher meets with Rick Pitino alone to talk about the situation, with Tim Sypher (at this point not her husband) waiting upstairs.

— On August 28 (my birthday…which may never now be the same), Pitino leaves a message for Sypher from the Pebble Beach golf course in which he says the decision as to whether to have the child is hers. This message will play in court.

— On August 29, Tim Sypher takes Karen Sypher to Cincinnati where she has an abortion. The two later become close and end up getting married.

— In the interim, Sypher is married to Tim, is around the team and Rick a great deal and even attends a Christmas party that same year at Porcinis with, among others, Rick Pitino.

— Fast forward to February 26, 2009. Tim and Karen Sypher have separated and Lester Goetzinger, a Sypher friend calls and leaves two messages on Rick Pitino’s cell phone. The US Attorney says the calls came after Sypher gave Lester oral sex. Both were played in court and both suggested he knew what had happened six years prior and Rick needed to make it right with Sypher.

— Pitino is on a plane when the messages are given and responds when he lands. He sets up a meeting for February 28, in which Rick, Tim and Karen meet. Rick asks who made the calls and then asks what he can do to help the situation. For the first time, Karen tells Tim she wants a legal separation. Sypher tapes the meeting and it will be played at trial. Part played during opening statement has Sypher saying that she is “as devoted as he is” (meaning she is as devoted to Rick as her husband) and Rick saying that Sypher is “part of our family…you’re not an outcast.”

— March 6, 2009 a letter is delivered from Tim Sypher to Rick Pitino in the hotel right before Louisville is to play West Virginia for the Big East regular season title. In it, Sypher demands college for all her kids, two cars, a house, $3,000 a month for food and bills and $75,000 when Rick leaves Louisville. In exchange, she will keep his name clean.

— March 22, 2009, Sypher has oral sex with her lawyer Dana Kolter and he agrees to help her with her situation. Rick Pitino also gives $10,000 to Tim Sypher for Karen out of his bonus he was given for winning the Big East Tournament. The money is to buy Karen’s son a car.

— March 24, 2009, Kolter writes Rick a letter demanding money in satisfaction for potential claims Sypher may have against him.

— March 31, 2009, Pitino’s lawyers and Kolter meet…$3.5 million is demanded and the meeting ends with no agreement.

— April 7, 2009, Pitino reports Sypher’s threats to the Kentucky Attorney General.

— Sypher is charged with three counts of extortion…one for the Lester calls, one for the letter she wrote, one for the Kolter letter….two counts of lying to the FBI, one for the underlying relationship and one for saying her arrangement with Kolter was “strictly business”….and one count of retaliation against a witness for when Sypher went to the police and charged rape after Pitino went to the Ky Attorney General.

So thats the United States’ version. Here is Sypher’s:


— Attorney begins by saying “this case is about money, power and influence…it is about what happens when you are raped by someone with power, money and influence…you must be destroyed.”

— On July 31, 2003, Karen Sypher went to Porcini’s to meet with a person from the Courier Journal about a potential job…a job she later received.

— While there, she was noticed by Rick Pitino, who invited her to sit with him at his private table. He offered her wine and she sat there with the group for a long period of time.

— As the place began to clear out, the owner gave Pitino the keys and asked him to “lock up when you are done.”

— Sypher claims she was then raped on a table in Porcini’s

— After it was over, Rick Pitino demands that Sypher take him home and she does.

— She tells someone (it was not said who) about the incident the next day but doesnt go to the police because she believes no one will believe her.

— She finds out she is pregnant, calls Rick Pitino and he says to her that he is sorry about the “unfortunate incident.”

— She claims that she is then told that if an abortion doesnt happen, it will be like “concrete in a river.”

— She claims she then met with Rick at his home and is raped again, with Tim Sypher upstairs.

— Tim Sypher takes her to Cincinnati to get an abortion and makes sure that there is no mention of Pitino or Tim Sypher’s name on the papers, even changing the paperwork so as to assure it.

— Tim Sypher calls Rick on the way home and says “it is all taken care of.”

— Tim then comforts Karen, and they end up getting married in a relationship that Karen Sypher’s attorney says was a “sham to take care of the unfortunate incident.”

— Fast forward to 2009….Sypher claims Lester is a “Fatal Attraction type” who has an obsession over Sypher. She calls Rick without her knowing and makes the threats.

— Pitino doesnt call law enforcement but instead calls Sypher, who insists doesnt know who did it. Rick then offers her “things” to help out with the situation.

— Pitino then asks Sypher what he can give her to make this all go away and help her. She then writes the letter with the list of things that she needs…which she claims is the letter shown by the prosecution.

— She meets with Dana Kolter, who suggests that they sue Pitino for 10 million dollars. He then drafts the letter to Pitino.

— Kolter and the Pitino lawyers meet and figures are “bantered about”, incluidng a claim for an offer of $500,000 from Pitino to Sypher.

— Soon after, Pitino goes to law enforcement and Sypher claims she is called into Steve Pence’s office (Pitino’s lawyer and former US Attorney), where she is given a sheet of paper to sign with the promise that if she does, “it will all go away.” She says no.

— She is then charged with the crimes.

— Throughout his argument, the defense attorney claimed that Tim liked to say that he “knew what size shoe she wore” as a reference to an earlier comment that she would be wearing “Concrete shoes” if she ever told on Rick. She claims that at Christmas, 2008, Tim Sypher left an empty shoe box on her steps as a final warning.

So there you go. That is each side’s case as presented in opening arguments. Remember that opening arguments are not testimony or evidence and just because they say it, doesnt mean they have facts to back it up. But it does give you a roadmap as to what each side is planning to do.

Article written by Matt Jones

60 responses to “Karen Sypher Trial: The Opening Arguments”

  1. ISkipMud

    Looks like Pitino’s side has the tapes.

  2. tysyoung

    Has the judge said what day we can start camping out for tickets?

  3. jon in jeff

    whats the name of that song? Oh yeah. “Crazy B*tch”

  4. SexnNursinHomes

    ol’ sypher breakin out the cross necklace, like the judge is going to look at that and think she is a holy woman. the judge better watch it, she’ll try to blow him too

  5. Wildcards

    Word around Louisville is that Sypher was Rick’s steady piece and that the owner of Porcinis was actually there the whole time, but because he was married, he needed an excuse to protect himself. I doubt that we will ever hear the complete truth of this story. Rick will one more time screw Sypher, before she goes to prison.

  6. KY12

    The wild card, and maybe Karen’s only prayer, is Tim Sypher. The fact that they married soon after RP had a one night stand with her supports her story far more than his. No person in their right mind would marry her if they were in Tim’s situation if they weren’t trying to contain info. Now whether that info was the abortion or worse is the question. I’m thinking it’s the former but nothing would surprise me.

  7. Sam Perkins

    “So, you’re going to blow me and then I have to anonymously threaten Rick Pitino…deal”.


    Not a lawyer; don’t even play one on TV. But…
    Defense will have a tough time selling “he raped me, then I drove him home…”

  9. enes

    Never thought it would get to this stage. Would love to have the production rights to this story.

  10. 081305

    If she had as many you-know-whats sticking out of her as she’s had stuck in her she would look like a porcupine

  11. gossie21

    This is going to get really interesting once they put Sypher on the stand. That crazy woman isn’t going to go down without a fight.

  12. Soap MacTavish

    #11 wins the “Joke of the Day” Award.

  13. gossie21

    …. or without someone making an extortion demand for her.

  14. Lou

    She should be convicted just for wearing that outfit.

  15. tyson

    matt, will her former attorney, Kolter, be reprimanded or disbarred for engaging in a sexual act with his client for representation?

  16. IAM4UK-KSR

    17, the more interesting question for Matt is: If KS offered you what she offered Kolter…how would you handle that situation???
    (Of course, Matt would turn her down. This post is just to get a laugh at the thought of that situation for our KSR leader.)

  17. rajon rondos headband

    Im ashamed to even have this sleeze-ball be called a former coach at UK

  18. IAM4UK-KSR

    [trying to eliminate the image #11 suggested, of KS as porcupine with you-know-whats instead of spines…]

  19. IAM4UK-KSR

    19, the “working it off” bit certainly is tried and true for her…

  20. IAM4UK-KSR

    headband (20), I agree that RP looks bad in this, but KS is the one who will be (correctly) convicted for taking it to this particular level.

  21. diamondblu7

    Wow! The facts are bad enough.

    She gets a lot done with oral sex.

  22. KY12

    The real loser here is her son. My sister used to work with his fiance and she is crazy as advertised. His only saving grace is his last name is different, but damn he’s my age (mid 20’s) and has to deal with this!! He’s actually a nice, normal guy too. As a warning, she has some more accusations saved up, stay tuned for the trial.

  23. SexnNursinHomes

    23 & 25- which is exactly why I would not turn down oral sex from her.

  24. rajon rondos headband

    And of course she’s not a whore she’s a victim of rape…smh shes a five star gold digger that has overstayed her welcome in the game.(insert pitino overstayed his welcome joke or kobe or Lawernce taylor or Roman Polanski or duke lacrosse im out of names)

  25. shundaroni

    Ah yes. The “Godfather” Defense. When all else fails, appeal to ethnic stereotypes. Clearly, Pitino is in the Mob. How can that approach possibly lose?

  26. uksbiggestfan

    28) Rothlisberger….

  27. UK Chill Fan

    Was the question to Matt if he didn’t get oral sex “how would he handle”? I assume like the majority of most males, he would have used his right hand.

  28. enes

    I can’t believe all the negative comments being made about this innocent Kentucky Virgin who got caught up in the world of big time (dirty) college basketball. Where is the NCAA when she needs them the most?

  29. SexnNursinHomes

    32- hahaha. at sypher’s age, she doesn’t give oral sex, she gives “Gummers”

  30. uksbiggestfan

    34) ummmm………………………………………….CLASSIC! lmfao

  31. Willis

    How much of a tool does Tim Sypher look like? I mean come on playa.. how do you marry the “Boss’s” old cum catcher? Just sayin..them must be some good gummers!

  32. JP

    5) I would have thought she would have worn a pearl necklace…

    I wonder if she needs any yard work done? We could probably work something out…

  33. uksbiggestfan

    wow this thread has turned nasty…Viva KS lmfao

  34. Tom

    This post just made Deadspin! Good reporting Matt.


    So……. what’s the food like at Porcini’s?

  36. Bryan the Intern
  37. StartUrJourneyNowMyLord

    This just in, testimony was introduced that the meeting between pitino’s counsel and sypher came to an abrupt end when in response to Sypher’s demand for 3.5 million, co-counsel for Pitino, Oklahoma attorney Daniel Orton, esq. jumped up and exclaimed, “HE CAN’T MOTHER F$#*ER!” More details later as the story breaks…

  38. dwperr2

    Why is she trying to take money from this man when all she needs in her life is her mouth?? Late on the house payment? Blow the guy at the bank. Need a car for your son? Blow the car salesman. College tuition? Presidents of Universities look like lonely guys. $3000 for food and bills? Don’t tell me the guys at Kroger and Shelby Energy would not line up for this sort of payment.

  39. KaiserSoujay

    Wow. This is going to be the gift that keeps on giving. Wonder if it will be covered on the sleazy Inside Edition and Abcess type shows?

  40. uksbiggestfan

    and #42 comes in brilliantly…..and the crowd cheers (haaah haaah)

  41. catamongtigers

    So Matt – When do the “oral” arguments start?

  42. kyeric

    I really can’t believe that KSR has stooped to…wait, Karen Sypher is here to give me a BJ… BRB.

  43. birddogmac

    As a fellow member of the Bar, I thought I should note one correction. It’s an “Opening Statement,” not an “Opening Argument.” Openings that contain argument are objectionable and, while “Closing Argument” is a correct term, the description you use is technically flawed.

    As an aside, I’m not yet willing to comment on whether someone involved in the trial gave me a knob polishing to point out this technicality.

  44. UKSoCalCampus

    Her knees look like they’ve been worn down to flat pads.

  45. KaiserSoujay

    What is she looking at in that picture????

  46. ukfaningatorland

    OK which onea youse wise guys photo shopped her skirt
    looks like Ricky P’s hand print all over that thing… LOL

  47. SexnNursinHomes

    37- she takes payments in “ball sweat”

  48. Patrick

    Well…..when it’s all said and done….I’d still take one for the team.

  49. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    Today is the “Greatest Day in Loserville history “. I don’t think ole Ricky ever needed “concrete shoes”, what he needed was a “concrete paper-bag”.

  50. SexnNursinHomes

    53- i’d hit that old thang, but of course, you’re talkin about a guy who would take sloppy fifieths.

  51. TSmithPage

    Is that what she wore to trial? Really?

  52. Luke The Drifter

    I hope the prosecution proves
    its case overwhelmingly, but
    a jury of UK fans finds her
    innocent and then she sues
    Pitino for everything he has.

  53. duhville cat

    You guys crack me up and 27) Sexin…. You wouldn’t turn down oral from an alligator! Ha.

  54. tonygreendoesthestankylegg

    If Ricky hadnt been so damn greedy he could have avoided this whole mess… he could have gotten her usual, a BJ with a small favor and been done with it, no abortion mess, knowing Sypher the small favor could have been gas money for the drive home!

  55. Arms of Delk Legs of McCarty

    What a bizarre story.

  56. IAM4UK-KSR

    So, Sypher’s specialty is the Lewinsky… But Ricky P had to have more, and knocked her up, then paid to kill the baby, and paid more to assuage his guilt and hopefully buy some silence. *Boom!* That blew up in his face. Perhaps she’s doing this just to show him how that feels… (’cause she’s evidently used to things blowing up in her face…)

  57. SexnNursinHomes

    58- I wouldn’t turn one down from a femal cannibal.

  58. Dave C

    If she hadn’t of sucked that spagetti from her plate on strand at a time in front of ole Ricky one night, none of this shit would have ever happened. And I’m sure I spelled spaghetti wrong.

  59. shundaroni

    “The US Attorney says the calls came after Sypher gave Lester oral sex.”

    I bet the calls weren’t the ONLY ones.

  60. flemingcountycat

    Now there’s a woman who knows what “taking my talents to south beach” truly means!