Complaint against Louisville coach Rick Pitino lacks evidence, won’t be prosecuted

Complaint against coach Pitino won’t be prosecuted

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A complaint filed with a police sex-offense unit by a woman accused of trying to extort Louisville coach Rick Pitino won’t be prosecuted because it lacks supporting evidence, a Kentucky prosecutor said Wednesday.

Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Stengel said he was taking no action on the complaint Karen Cunagin Sypher filed last week with Louisville police. The report has not been released publicly.

Sypher has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of trying to extort money from Pitino and lying to the FBI. She is accused of demanding college tuition for her children, her house to be paid off and, eventually, $10 million.

Pitino’s attorney, Steve Pence, said her complaint was void of credibility.

“Coach takes no great pleasure in this entire ordeal,” Pence told The Associated Press. “We still have an extortion trial and we’ll continue to cooperate with the federal government on that.”

“I’m furious,” Sypher told WLKY televison station. “If the investigation was thorough like it should have been, they would have found out what they needed to carry out this case. I’m not done yet.”

A cell phone Sypher has used in the past was disconnected and her home number is unlisted.

Stengel’s decision came just hours after University of Louisville Athletics Director Tom Jurich said in a statement that school administrators would stand by Pitino.

“The decision of the commonwealth’s attorney confirms what we’ve known all along,” Jurich said.

Sypher’s trial hasn’t been scheduled. Her attorney, Thomas Clay of Louisville, has sought to resign, telling a federal judge he has “irreconcilable differences” with his client.

The judge has not yet ruled on Clay’s request.

Sypher’s longtime friend, Lester Goetzinger, agreed to testify against her in the alleged plot. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to clear his record of charges against him.

Prosecutors said Goetzinger left three voice mail messages on Pitino’s cell phone between Feb. 26 and Feb. 28 at Sypher’s request. Goetzinger’s attorney, John Berry of Louisville, has said Sypher traded sexual favors in exchange for the calls.


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