Rick Pitino and Karen Sypher

Every sports fan we know is bugging us to cover the prosecution of Karen Sypher, a former car-show model and auto-glass saleswoman, who is being tried for extorting University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, lying to the FBI, and retaliation against a witness. Since it concerns balls, it seems like a natural fit for resident ATL sports fan Elie Mystal, but there’s lots of sex in the trial testimony as well, so the case has been reassigned to me.

Well, not lots of sex. A little bit of sex. Like 15 seconds of it.

The trouble started with a sexual encounter between Pitino and Sypher back in 2003. Pitino, who is married with children, says the encounter was consensual. Sypher says it was rape. It gets really complicated from there. Lots of salacious stuff has come out of the trial: Pregnancy. Abortion. Extortion. Multiple lovers. Sypher giving her lawyer, Dana Kolter, a blow job to get representation. You know, pretty standard stuff…

Duke law grad Matt Jones, a Louisville lawyer who blogs about sports on Kentucky Sports Radio, has been providing comprehensive coverage of the trial (though it’s difficult to wade through it given KSR’s Web 1.0 format. C’mon guys, no tags? Blogging without tags is like basketball without backboards). Jones sums up opening arguments here.

But we were most interested in Pitino’s testimony. Is the possibility of seeing Sypher punished worth the embarrassment involved in testifying about his poor two-pump penile performance?

Pitino and Sypher had sex in 2003 at a restaurant called Porcini’s the night that they met. She was there for a job interview. Pitino was there for a drink. The restaurant cleared out and they were left there alone. Kentucky Sports Radio reports:

Rick [Pitino] went into details about the Porcinis night in question. He said Karen Sypher came over to him, they talked and she began rubbing his leg. 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 wasn’t 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 didn’t need a ride, because Karen Sypher offered to take him home.

He got his ride, but it was a short one. From USA Today:

He said it began when she started rubbing his leg as they were sitting at the bar, then suggested that they go to a booth. “One thing led to another,” Pitino said.

He said he got nervous after Sypher told him she was very fertile and joked that her first husband once got her pregnant just by looking at her.

His nervousness resulted in Pitino driving it to the hole rather quickly.

“Our encounter lasted less than 15 seconds,” Pitino said.

We know that the famed Pitino press can be sprung quickly, but not that fast.

Still, Pitino says he blew the layup. From KSR’s report on Pitino’s testimony:

[Sypher] asked if he had a condom and he said that he didn’t carry condoms. The attorney said to Rick that Karen Sypher says he ejaculated inside of her and Pitino said that wasn’t 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.”

Kentucky Sports Radio is amazed that Pitino still has a job, suggesting that his testimony would violate the morality clause in his employment contract. Perhaps the University of Louisville basketball program just really appreciates his mastery of the dribble.

The trial will be over soon, but the testimony will live on forever, likely resurrected during college basketball games every time the shot clock for Louisville is at the 15 second mark.

Karen Sypher Trial: The Opening Arguments [Kentucky Sports Radio]
Here’s Karen Sypher, Seconds Away From Blowing Her Lawyer [Deadspin]
The ten bazillion dollar question [Kentucky Sports Radio]
Karen Sypher relationship with divorce lawyer ‘more than business’ [Louisville Courier-Journal]
Sypher Trial Day 5: The Men Who Were Seduced By Sypher [Kentucky Sports Radio]
Pitino testifies Sypher’s rape allegations just ‘blackmail’ [USA Today]


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