Jordan's extortion lawsuit also reinstated

Updated: February 3, 2005, 8:51 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- An appellate court ruled Thursday that a woman who accused Michael Jordan of reneging on a promise to pay her $5 million to keep quiet about an affair presented sufficient facts to pursue her case in court.


The ruling by the Illinois Court of Appeals said Karla Knafel's breach of contract lawsuit should be reinstated along with a lawsuit filed by Jordan accusing her of extortion. In 2003, Cook County Judge Richard A. Siebel threw out both lawsuits.

Jordan's lawyer, Frederick J. Sperling, said he would ask the Illinois Supreme Court to hear the case.

"We expect Michael Jordan's position to be fully vindicated," he said.

Knafel's attorney, Nicholas Pavich, said his client views the decision as "vindication by the appellate court."

According to her lawsuit, Knafel claims she became pregnant in 1991 after she and Jordan had unprotected sex. Knafel initially believed the baby was Jordan's and that when she told him, the former NBA star told her he would pay her the money, the lawsuit contends.

Jordan denied agreeing to pay the $5 million. In court documents, he contended that Knafel agreed to a $250,000 payment after paternity tests showed the child was not his.

The relationship became public in 2002 when Jordan filed an extortion lawsuit against Knafel, who responded with the lawsuit claiming Jordan broke his promise to pay her $5 million.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press