Coach Pitino breaks silence on Sypher verdict

Louisville, KY - By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The trial is over and now Karen Sypher will have to wait until October to learn her punishment. On Thursday a federal jury convicted Sypher of trying to extort millions from University of Louisville Basketball Coach Rick Pitino. One day after the verdict, Pitino broke his silence about the case to ESPN.COM's Andy Katz.

Pitino said he was forced to go to authorities about the attempted extortion.

"I had no choice in this fight," Pitino said in Katz's blog. "I had to take it on. I didn't want this to go public, but she went to the news stations."

Pitino told Katz he never felt he would lose his family during the ordeal.

"We're strong and we've gone through an awful lot," Pitino said in the blog. "I told them the truth. I asked for forgiveness. And I'm only interested in what my family and what God thinks."

Pitino went on to say he feels lucky to work in Louisville and was not worried about losing his job.

Later in the blog he was quoted as saying: "People make mistakes in life. I made a big error in judgment. I owned up and someone else is facing six felony accounts [sic]. This was for the judge and the jury to decide. I was a witness. That was all."

After nearly six hours of deliberations over two days, jurors unanimously decided on a guilty verdict. Sypher's attorney has not commented on whether they believe she got a fair trial. Immediately after the verdict was read on Aug. 5, Karen Sypher's mom, Judy Cunagin, had little to say.

"Ma'am what was your reaction to the verdict?"

Judy Cunagin:
"I have no comment."

"Judy, how is your daughter feeling today?"

Judy Cunagin:
Very well thank you."

A day later, however, Cunagin had this to say about the verdict: "I just think, you know, the trial should have been moved. I think the jury was very prejudiced against my daughter."

A number of jurors told WAVE 3 they took their time reaching a verdict.

"It was a hard decision," said juror Charles Smith. "I mean we're human beings ... but we came to a decision based off the evidence provided."

Brian Ross, another juror, said they followed the law.

"In the end, it came down to the fact that we had to do what was right by the law," Ross said.

Judy Cunagin also said Karen has requested her 20-year-old son, Jacob Wise, be granted custody of her 5-year-old daughter, Annabelle. Family court officials would say only that Karen Sypher and her ex-husband, Tim, have an Aug. 9 court date.

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