Normally in this spot, we talk about the news of the day, but we are foregoing it tonight for another roundup of Sypher testimony. A couple of people have said they thought there was too much of this on the site, but otherwise it has been an overwhelmingly positive response to our coverage. The reality is that this story has been unlike anything I have ever seen. The site numbers, Twitter responses, emails, etc all suggest to me that there is a huge desire to know about what is happening in the courtroom, not only in this state, but nationwide. Yet for such a big event, very few outlets are covering it and there isnt the attention that a story of this size and absurdity would usually have. We will continue to do it for as long as possible, while also covering our regular UK beat. Thanks to all who have been so supportive these last few days. With that, the facts:
— After lunch, the day began with two nurses who worked with Karen Sypher at the time of her 2003 abortion. The first worked at the Women’s Clinic Research Center in Louisville, where Sypher first found out she was pregnant. She testified that Sypher came into the clinic and a urine test showed she was pregnant. They then gave two ultrasounds that were inconclusive as to her pregnancy. This testimony made me wonder if the Government was going to argue that Sypher was never pregnant, because it was left open after the first nurse.
— The second nurse came from the clinic in Cincinnati where Tim Sypher took Karen to have the abortion. She testified that Sypher made two trips to the clinic, the first on August 27, and the second two days later, after the 24 hour mandatory waiting period in Ohio. She testified that Sypher filled out forms at the clinic saying she was “confident” and “strong” and that she was certain about her decision.
— The second nurse also testified that Sypher circled “Not True” on a statement asking if anyone was forcing her to have this abortion or making her do something that she did not want to do. Sypher then had the abortion on August 29, 2003. The doctor who performs it estimates that she had been pregnant for five weeks at the time of the abortion.
— The next witness was Tim Sypher, who testified for the duration of the day and has still yet to face cross-examination. He testified that he is the Yum Center Director and began his career with Pitino as a Personal Assistant for him in Boston. He got the job after a number of other careers, including working at the dog track.
— In August of 2003, Rick Pitino called Tim Sypher into his office and asked if he could “help me with something.” Sypher said that Rick told him “that he supposedly got somebody pregnant.” He then called up Karen Sypher and on August 25, met with her in a Walgreens Parking lot, before having Sypher follow him to his condo.
— At the condo, Sypher talked with Pitino while Tim Sypher waited upstairs. He said they spent an hour together in his house, but he heard no sounds. When he came downstairs after the hour, “she was just business.” After the meeting, he did research on abortion clinics in Cincy, Evansville and other locations and tried to find a place for it to take place.
— Pitino gives Tim Sypher $3,000 to give to Karen Sypher for health insurance. He was scheduled to go to a party in Boston, but cancelled the trip so that he could take care of the Sypher situation. On August 29, he called Sypher early in the morning, asked if she wanted something from Starbucks (he remembered it was a decaf vanilla latte), picked her up and then took her to Cincinnati. They made small talk on the trip and he testified that Karen Sypher did not seem nervous at all.
— Sypher paid for the procedure out of the $3,000 given to him by Pitino, saying he wasnt going to use his own money. He testified that they ended up holding hands while they were waiting for the procedure and “it was like being struck by lightning.” He said he felt a connection to her at that time. He then said he drove her back (stopping at Carrollton to eat at Subway…he remembered she ordered a turkey sandwich with mayo on wheat bread…the man remembers details) and then took her home.
— When they got back to Karen Sypher’s home, she invited him into the house and asked if he could look at her plumbing upstairs because she had a leak. Tim said he agreed to look at it, could not fix it and then proceeded to leave. Karen stopped him at the door and said, “is this it?” They then agreed that after Tim got back from his trip to Boston, they would see each other again.
— Over the next few days, a phone romance emerged and when Tim returned, they went on a date. He said he went to her house and “things skyrocketed there” and they ended up having sex, one week after the abortion in Cincinnati. They then began dating and got serious quickly, with Tim stopping dating two women he was seeing at the time.
— After the first date, Tim Sypher testified that he asked Rick Pitino if it was ok if he dated Karen Sypher. Pitino said yes and Karen became part of the group. She went to UL basketball functions and at no time during their marriage did she complain about the sexual incident with Pitino or say it was rape.
— Tim testified that Sypher had an abortion with him in 2004, after she became pregnant before they got married. They then got married later and the first few years were great according to Tim. In 2007, he got a letter in which Karen Sypher said she wanted a divorce, but they stayed on again and off again over the next couple of years.
— Then according to Sypher, “all of a sudden she started using the rape word.” He said she would get angry and yell it, often in front of their kids. She would bring up problems with Pitino, including not getting the same Christmas presents that the other wives of the basketball coaches were given. Tim Sypher testified that he found the actions very strange.
— Emails were shown between Karen and Tim, written in late 2008, that showcased the problems the two of them were having. At this point in his testimony, one could see the clear affection that Tim had for Karen and he talked about how he loved her at this time. He said her actions were inconsistent and “one day she talks divorce, and the next day we are kissin’ and huggin'” He said that at this time, he got her a Christmas present in which she opened the box and inside was a picture of Morristown, NJ…which was special to the two of them because it was where their first child was conceived.
— Tim Sypher testified that on February 26, 2009 “my heart fell to the ground.” He received a text message from Rick Pitino that simply said “Red Alert”. Pitino calls and says that he needs to meet with Tim and Karen in his office. The three go to the office and they start talking about the phone messages Pitino has received. They talk about who it could have been and then at some point, Karen looks at Tim and says “you dont need to come home tonight.” Tim stays that night at the Yum Center and proceeds to stay there and at hotels for the next few weeks.
— Coach Pitino at some point says he “cant have the media know this” and then the next day receives a call saying that the media will be informed. Karen Sypher then has a second meeting with Tim and Rick, in which she says that Jacob (her son) needed a new car and she needed a Lexus 470, pearl white “with all the extras.” On March 18, Tim actually buys Jacob the car, a white 4-Runner, with money that he testifies Pitino gave him as a bonus when the team won the Big East Tournament.
— On March 6, 2009, Tim finds out that Karen is at a Doctor’s office and goes to see her. While at the office, Karen Sypher starts telling Tim about all the things she believes Pitino should give her and what she wanted for the problems from six years before. Because she is saying a number of different things, Tim tells her to write down what it is she wants. This could end up being a key piece of testimony, as it can be used by the defense to suggest that Karen Sypher’s demand note was actually a response to a request by someone from Pitino’s group. It will be interesting to see how the defense plays this.
— Later in the day, Tim meets Karen’s son Jacob in a McDonald’s Parking lot and he delivers him the note. Tim leaves it sealed and then takes it to West Virginia, where Louisville is about to play. He gives Rick Pitino the note and Rick says “this is blackmail.”
— When they get home from West Virginia, he takes Karen to the cemetary where they were engaged to ask her who it was that made the phone calls. She says that she does not know and Tim says he picked the spot for sentimental reasons, not to threaten her.
— Tim Sypher was called in by the FBI as a potential suspect as being in on the calls. He told the FBI the truth and he testified that they tried to “good cop/bad cop” him. He moved in with Vinny Tatum and then agreed to work with the FBI, as they taped him making calls to Karen and her son. These calls were the subject of a legal dispute between the two parties and the judge recessed court for the day so that he could decide those issues.
So that is where we are…back to Tim Sypher at 10 am. It was a pretty wild two days and Rick Pitino has said a couple of things that will stay with him forever. Overall, another positive day for the Government, and Pitino ended up being a good witness…even if his person PR was hurt in the process. Here are the rest of the recaps from the other days: