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Sypher Trial Day 4A: Rick Pitino Finishes His Time On the Stand


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The story of today was the final day of testimony from Rick Pitino, who faced cross-examination and addressed the issues at hand in the trial. Pitino was confident throughout and also very confrontational, being forceful with the Defense Attorney and proclaiming his innocence of the allegations made by Sypher against him. From a legal standpoint, I think he did a great job and helped the United States’ case a great deal. But from a public relations standpoint, there were comments that will likely stick with Rick forever. Below is a recap of his testimony and the first testimony from Tim Sypher. The Pitino comments are fairly graphic and should be avoided by those who dont want to potentially cringe.

RICK PITINO CROSS-EXAMINATION:

— The Defense Attorney comes to the podium with a copy of Rick Pitino’s book and reads a quote from the book about demanding loyalty from his assistants and that they should help a coach by any means required. He asks if that is how Pitino feels and he says yes, for success in basketball. The attorney then goes into a long series of rather ineffective points, asking if Pitino had been prepped for his testimony, who he had talked to and whether UL Sports Information Director Kenny Klein had been telling Pitino about the testimony that Klein had heard in court. It was a poor start for the defense attorney and he didnt get across the points he had hoped to make.

— Pitino states in response to a question that “this is not myself vs Karen Sypher…this is the United States vs Karen Sypher.” He states forcefully that “I never forced myself on Miss Sypher.” He does say that this ordeal has taken a toll on him. He also states that it has ended his career in motivational speaking, for which he made $1,000-$40,000 a speech.

— The Defense Attorney then focused on the recorded conversations of Sypher and Pitino’s meeting on February 26, 2009, right after he received the threatening phone calls. The attorney focuses on Pitino’s continued phrase that the caller “knows every detail” of the Porcini’s and condo encounters to try and portray that Rick is including the rape charge as one of those details. Pitino convincingly argues that is false and becomes very confrontational.

— The Attorney asks why Pitino never denied the rape allegation at that meeting, and Pitino says “I didnt have to challenge something that never happened.” Pitino argues that when he said he wanted to “make her life easier”, he meant get counseling, not give her money.

— The Attorney does highlight some language where Rick says that “you and I, You and I can deny that it ever happened.” Rick said he didnt have an intent to lie but said he would have said anything at that moment to try and figure out who was making the calls. Similarly, the attorney points to language where Rick says “thats not going to be a problem”, in reference to Sypher’s supposed financial problems. He said again that he wasnt going to give her money but was just saying whatever to try and find out who made the phone calls.

— The Defense Attorney then went into a great deal of questioning on why Rick didnt go to law enforcement after the calls. Pitino said it was in part because it was during the season and that he had “no proof” as to who it was. The Attorney then asked, “is it your job to gather proof” and Pitino said he just wanted to find out who made the calls. Pitino also said the “extortion hadn’t happened yet”, as only the first two calls had been made. This is an interesting comment by Rick as it means that if the Defense is able to show Call #3 came from anyone but Lester, they would defeat one of the three extortion counts.

— Pitino talked about a conversation with Karen Sypher’s son in which the son said he was 90% sure the caller was someone named “Tom”. Pitino said he told Sypher’s son that he wanted to assure him that he did not rape his mother. At this point, Pitino still wasnt sure Sypher was involved, saying “she is one of the best actresses I have ever seen in my life.”

— Talk then shifted back to the abortion in 2003. Rick repeated that he set up the trip and asked the Louisville Equipment Manager Tim Sypher to take her. He at one point said “it wasnt my child”, but didnt mention that phrase again and it was unclear whether he meant that is what he thought then, or now. He gave Tim Sypher $3,000 because Karen Sypher said she needed health insurance at this time.

— There were a number of exchanges at this point about relatively irrelevant facts (the amount in a bank account, whether Pitino knew who Tim Sypher dates, etc) that were all said to likely make Pitino look like he was lying on everything. All it did was make it look like the two men were bickering and it really advanced the ball not at all.

— While in West Virginia, Pitino gets the letter from Sypher with her list of demands. It was delivered by Tim Sypher, and Rick’s financial advisor Rick Avare suspects Tim is involved. He tells Tim with Pitino present that he knows Tim loves his wife and kids and his team, but he needs to think long and hard about what he is going to do. The Attorney asks if this is a threat, but Pitino says he didnt say it so he didnt know.

— Then came the one bit of testimony where I personally found Pitino to be rather unbelievable. The Attorney asked Rick about a supposed “settlement” meeting between lawyers representing Rick and Karen Sypher and her lawyer Dana Kolter. Rick deemed it a “factfinding mission” and claimed he “didnt know” if any offers were given at that time. When asked if $500,000 was offered, he said he didnt know because he wasnt there. The defense attorney asked if a mediator had been hired and Rick said he didnt know if one had been hired or if his attorneys had contacted a mediator. It seems as if the Defense will enter evidence in the future that all of these things happened, although they have not yet.

— Then Rick went into details about the Porcinis night in question. He said Karen Sypher came over to him, they talked and she began rubbing his lef. He said he did not tell her to stop or that he felt it was inappropriate. When asked why he was staying after hours, with the owner leaving, Pitino insisted it wasnt for sex but to “finish up his drink.” When asked if this was normal for him, he said no and that it was the first time it had ever happened. He said he told the Porcinis owner he didnt need a ride, because Karen Sypher offered to take him home.

— Pitino then said again that Sypher opened up his pants. She asked if he had a condom and he said that he didnt carry condoms. The attorney said to Rick that Karen Sypher says he ejaculated inside of her and Pitino said that wasnt true. He said that Sypher told him she was fertile and that “her husband looked at her four times and she got pregnant and I immediately pulled out.” The Attorney then asked how Sypher could have become pregnant if he did not ejaculate and he said, “I did, down my leg.”

— Pitino said that it was “physically possible” the child could have been his but declined to go into details on that point. He then said he “was very embarassed that I was a married man and I was with this woman.” The defense attorney said that he should not have been at Porcinis that night and Rick Pitino said the understatement of the year, that the Attorney was “100% correct…I should have gone home.”

— On Redirect, Pitino talked about the toll this had on his family and how tough it had been to tell them. He said it broke his heart to tell his son Richard Pitino that he should leave Louisville and be an Assistant somewhere else, but that is what he told him. The questioning ended and the court recessed for lunch.

It was a very humiliating morning and tough to watch from the audience. Rick shared details that will likely stay with him forever and unfortunately, will continue to follow him. However as a witness, he was effective and I do think he helped the government’s case. But personally, it was a fairly horrible day I am sure. More later tonight on Tim Sypher’s testimony.

Article written by Matt Jones

38 responses to “Sypher Trial Day 4A: Rick Pitino Finishes His Time On the Stand”

  1. Calipari'sInYourEar

    Well, well what do we have here…

    http://louisville.craigslist.org/cas/1870650240.html

  2. Calipari'sInYourEar
  3. Calipari'sInYourEar

    Question: Why has Louisville Basketball, in 9 years under Rick Pitino been unable to make it past the Final Four?

    Answer: The team executes just like their coach, in 15 second spurts.

  4. dcgirl

    “He said Karen Sypher came over to him, they talked and she began rubbing his lef.”??

  5. father torque

    Perjury be damned, I would have NEVER testified in open court that I was a 15 seconds and done man! How can the guy ever walk into a gym again? They’ll be muffled snickers and giggling everytime.

  6. Ares

    Honestly I don’t want a person humiliated in public. I know people make mistakes but really this is sad. He made a poor choice that now will haunt him forever. As much as I was floored when he took the Louisville job I am that much sad to see the coach go through this. I will be glad when this is over.

  7. everestct
  8. Gavin S.

    I does sound uncomfortable to watch, like Curb your Enthusiasm.

  9. holdmeclosertinydanson

    In just 15 seconds, you can save 100% on health insurance with Pitino.

  10. Calipari'sInYourEar

    Matt seems to have pulled the plug on the train…

    Pitino fell on his sword and has evoked sympathy and compassion from the peanut gallery.
    Maybe Rick’s had enough from in state for now (he hand delivered to us the equivalent of thermite in comedy material this week). I suggest that maybe this was the plan. By overfeeding the fire, it flashes super hot at first then dies faster. We may never know, yet for the handful of poor decisions Rick’s made one thing is for certain: He’s can be very inteligent if he wants to be.

    I hope he keeps his job and begins rebuilding his life. “Kentucky” basketball is better when we have some competition down there road. He’s got a lot of work to do, but really… in all of the US who could give UL a chance better than him?

    One last tasty bite and I’ll give the guy a break. (1996 was a truly sweet year)

    “Louisville Kentucky – Home of Fast horses, dirty legs, and NO bragging rights… I’m talking NONE people!!!”

  11. pccatsfan

    5) That was great. I’m still laughing out loud.

  12. boogiemonster

    Karen, you’ve got it all wrong. You were trying to get your fifteen MINUTES of fame!

  13. SexnNursinHomes

    2- hahaha

  14. hugecatfan1

    Calipari needs to watch himself – sounds like Rick used the dribble drive!

  15. tdogg4033011

    5) is 15 seconds that bad?? lol …. jk

  16. Patrick

    14. LOL!!

    Ricky Three Stacks a.k.a. Mr. 15 Seconds Man a.k.a. Man-whore. Take your pick. I think the defense was merciful on him today.

    How do you go into a Big East gym with this on your resume? Can you imagine what the crowd in West Virginia will do with this…?

  17. Jason
  18. UK_IceWaterSmooth

    Gonna hear the chant “15 seconds” at every away game now…. lmao… that will be too funny

  19. BravoBigBlue

    Sounds like Rick had the spin machine in overdrive today in an effort to gain public sympathy. Only the weak-minded will fall for it. Off with his head.

  20. UK_IceWaterSmooth

    And how can any announcer hold it together when he as to color commentate “… its out of bounds on Louisville. Yeah Jay he just dribbled it off his leg…”

  21. 7titlesto2

    Porcinis………….home of the fastest 15 seconds in sports

  22. marinersstaff1

    16- Not just Big East gyms… ALL gyms. I know they play Western Kentucky in Bowling Green this year and you know the Western students are going to be rough on him. Can you imagine the signs and chants all around the country? All Louisville games will be tough to broadcast and keep obscenity out.

  23. UK_IceWaterSmooth

    OR… ” this thing is far from over.., Pitino knows that a lot can happen in 15 seconds…”

  24. tdogg4033011

    17) Thanks man, funny stuff though. Just imagine what they would say if this was the
    other way around?? Jealousy of UK & this blog is all it is.

  25. catty

    “honey supper’s ready”

    “I’ll be down in a rickie”

  26. MonstaMash93

    If Rick could do it all over, I think he would have just given her the money. After all the embarrassment and his son leaving for Florida, does anyone else believe he wishes he would have just payed up?

  27. ltmcbtt7

    16 seconds is not coming through that door!

  28. hugecatfan1

    Ricks 15 seconds of fame

  29. marinersstaff1

    His teams have always been known to shoot quickly.

  30. Calipari'sInYourEar

    #26 – MonstaMash93 – I hear you, but Rick’s been through this before… being extorted for money.

    How many times do you pay the leaches? I don’t think we can answer that.

    I’m glad he didn’t. Not so he gets tarnished, but just to reestablish that levee out there for all the gold diggers to be reminded that “sucking” your way to the top better not include blackmail, intimdation, or extortion. Because if it does, you will pay a heavy price.

  31. Calipari'sInYourEar

    I can’t wait for Clark Kellogg to preview Louisville Basketball’s 2010 spurtability

    OK, I promise that’s the last one… ha

  32. GeorgeCostanza

    This is the most public yet of my many humiliations. ~~~~ Jackie Chiles

  33. Rush3Redux

    9 — Nobody has given you credit yet, but you deserve it, because that was awesome. I actually LOL’d.

  34. 101blue

    Here’s a music video about Rick’s less than 15 sec. problem.

    It’s not a Rick Roll.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pXfHLUlZf4

  35. BlueDeuce

    Sad day for Rick to be up there and having to recount everything…crazy to think 14 years ago he was at UK winning a championship…really, it is.

    Good update…

  36. hugecatfan1

    This situation gives a whole new meaning to the ‘trickle down’ theory

  37. pacetech4

    Time OUT LOUISVILLE………15 second time out. Sorry bad joke. The whole sordid story, from what we actually know because I don’t think we will ever know the entire story, is sad

  38. Jed Hilbert

    I knew his youngest son at St. X…great kid.