<
>

Karen Sypher says trial was unfair

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The woman convicted of trying to extort Rick Pitino said she didn't get a fair trial because of the Louisville coach's fame and power.

Karen Cunagin Sypher told The Courier-Journal newspaper that Louisville is a small enough city for any jury to be influenced by Pitino.

"I know now there is no justice system. There is no justice," Sypher said.

Sypher was convicted Thursday of extortion, lying to the FBI and retaliating against a witness. Prosecutors said Sypher demanded millions in cash, cars and a house from Pitino to stay quiet about their one-night stand at a Louisville restaurant in 2003.

Sentencing in the case is set for Oct. 27. Sypher said she was "numb" and hasn't thought about a potential prison sentence. Sypher said there's additional evidence her attorney did not use at the trial, but she would not say what it was.

"The story has not come out yet," she said.

Neither Sypher nor her attorney, James Earhart, returned several messages from The Associated Press on Friday.

After the trial, University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich said Pitino wouldn't be disciplined for his tryst with Sypher because there was no misconduct on university property.

Pitino told ESPN.com's Andy Katz in a phone conversation Friday that he 'had no choice' when Sypher attempted to extort him, but he was never worried about his job security.

"I'm very lucky to be a part of Louisville and that's why I stay and why I work for them and for Tom," Pitino said. "People make mistakes in life. I made a big error in judgment. I owned up and someone else is facing six felony accounts. This [case] was for the judge and the jury to decide. I was a witness. That was all."

Sypher blasted both Pitino and the school for not firing him.

"If he can lay his head down at night and sleep well, then all I can say to him is that he only has one person to answer to and he knows who that is -- that's the good Lord above," Sypher said.

Several witnesses testified during Sypher's trial that she traded sexual favors to enlist several people to help her extort Pitino. Her ex-husband, longtime Pitino aide Tim Sypher, also testified against her.

Earhart didn't put any witnesses on the stand, but jurors heard Sypher's words via videotaped interviews with two Louisville television stations and a police interview.

The case's seedy details and revelations have become late-night talk show fodder and populated the blogosphere, but Pitino said his public perception hasn't affected him.

"I told the truth from day one [of him being extorted in 2009, not of the encounter in 2003] to my employer to [UL athletic director] Tom Jurich and to Dr. [James] Ramsey and to my family right away," Pitino said. "The only thing I was concerned with was telling the truth. I taught my players over the last 30 years that if you tell the truth your problems will become a part of the past. If you lie, they are a part of your future."

Sypher said she rejected several plea agreements before trial that would have allowed her to avoid prison.

"That would mean I was guilty," she said. "I can honestly say I've never felt so calm in my life, because I finally was allowed to speak after being duct-taped over my mouth for so many years."

Pitino was apologetic and realistic about the ramifications and consequences of the trial.

"I paid the price," Pitino told Katz. "I used extremely poor judgment and I've made my peace with God and my family."

Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.