Barry Westerman / AP
Rick Pitino’s testimony at Karen Cunagin Sypher’s extortion trial didn’t disappoint those hoping for lurid, bizarre details. Louisville’s coach produced memorable quotes, frank pronouncements and added to what’s already been a surreal trial.
Get ready for more on Thursday when Pitino is cross-examined by the defense.
In what was surely the longest day of Pitinto’s life (check back Thursday), he testified for three and half hours relating to how his affair with Sypher turned into a series of threatening messages and ultimately what authorities think was an attempt at extortion. Sypher claims the coach raped her.
When Pitino met Sypher on July 31, 2003, she asked him to tell her son happy birthday on the phone. He did. When he saw her again later that night, he bought her a drink as the bar was closing. The owner gave them the OK to stay, which then proceeded to sex. Here’s the family friendly version from the AP:
“Some unfortunate things happened,” Pitino said in the courtroom packed with spectators from basketball-mad Kentucky. “She opened up my pants.”
“Did you have sex that night?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Ford asked.
“Yes, very briefly,” said Pitino, who wore a dark suit with a white shirt and red tie. The two have said they had sex at the table.
Three weeks later, Sypher told Pitino she had missed her period, which led to a meeting where he recommended she get counseling. He called her several times during the next few weeks asking what she would do about the baby. Kentucky Sports Radio posted an example of his message:
This is not something I can decide on. I think the best thing in all seriousness, is to go through with it but that has to be your call….I am a high profile person….but the decision has to be yours and the way you put it, put it behind us and then move on…..you just let me know what you are going to do.
Pitino later detailed how, starting on Feb. 26, 2009, he received threatening messages, which led to another meeting between he, Sypher, and Tim Sypher, who is in the middle of divorcing Karen. That meeting was taped and played in court.
From there, Pitino detailed how Sypher’s demands escalated in frequency and tone, which led him to contact the Kentucky Attorneys General.
So what happens Thrusday when the defense gets a chance to cross-examine Pitino? It’ll be at least more of the same – and probably even more worthy of a Jerry Springer show than ever before.