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Federal appeals court upholds conviction of Pitino extortionist Karen Sypher

Karen Sypher

A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of Karen Sypher, the woman serving more than seven years in prison for attempting to extort Louisville head men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.

In a decision Thursday, the court rebuked the argument made by Sypher’s lawyer, David Nolan, saying it was “premature and unsupported by the record,” according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

“It appears to be a waste of everybody’s time,” 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey told the paper at the time.

Part of the appeal centered around the fact that Sypher’s counsel believed the trial should have been moved because of the amount of media coverage surrounding the proceedings.

“A careful review of Sypher’s briefs on appeal reveals that she has failed to identify any newly discovered evidence,” according to the ruling.

Sypher was convicted in February on charges that she “demanded a house, cars and cash from Pitino in exchange for her silence on allegations that he raped her twice in 2003,” according to the Courier-Journal.

Sypher is serving time in Florida and will not be eligible for release until 2017.

In the wake of the trial, Pitino remains one of the most prominent head coaches in the nation, having led the Cardinals to a Final Four berth this past season. He brings in two top-level recruits from the Class of 2012: Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_