Judge denies psych exam request

Updated: October 29, 2009, 4:02 PM ET
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A federal judge has denied prosecutors' request for a psychiatric evaluation of the woman accused in a plot to extort $10 million from Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.

U.S. District Judge Charles Simpson ruled this week that there was no "reasonable cause" to question Karen Cunagin Sypher's competency. Prosecutors had noted in asking for the exam that Sypher's former attorney was concerned about her mental state.

"Sypher's current counsel has not indicated any difficulty in communicating with his client or securing her cooperation in matters relating to her defense," Simpson wrote in the ruling Tuesday.

She has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of attempting to extort money from Pitino and lying to the FBI. Pitino has acknowledged a sexual encounter with her at a Louisville restaurant in 2003.

Simpson also denied a motion from prosecutors for a protective order that would have barred Sypher from releasing evidence to the media. Simpson says there's no need for the order.

Sypher's attorney, James Earhart, said the case can move forward now that Simpson has ruled.

Pitino's attorney, Steve Pence, did not return a call seeking comment.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE