Sypher's sentence for extorting Pitino expires, but she's still under federal supervision
Six years, five months and 11 days after she was sentenced to prison for trying to extort cash, cars and a house from University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, Karen Cunagin Sypher’s sentence officially expires Friday.
Sypher, 57, who was released to a halfway house in January, must still serve two years of supervised release, during which she is required to report to the federal probation office, obtain permission to leave the area, maintain or seek employment and avoid excessive alcohol use.
Sypher’s trial attorney, James Earhart, said he has had no contact with her and doesn’t know where she is living or working.
Attorney David Nolan, who represented her when she was sentenced in 2011 and on appeal, did not respond to an email, and Sypher’s mother, Judith Cunagin, did not respond to a message left at her home.
Sypher previously worked as a showroom model and saleswoman.
After a sensational eight-day trial, she was convicted of lying to the FBI, retaliating against a witness and extortion for trying to force Pitino to give her money and other items in exchange for her silence on her allegations that he raped her twice in 2003, including once at a Louisville restaurant.
Earlier this year:Extortionist Karen Sypher one step closer to freedom
Background:Karen Sypher denied release to halfway house
She didn't report the alleged rapes until six years later – after she was charged with extortion — and the commonwealth’s attorney’s office found her allegations against Pitino were without merit. Pitino acknowledged he had sex once with Sypher, briefly, at the Porcini restaurant, but said it was consensual.
Sentencing the former showroom model in February 2011 to 87 months in prison, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III said she was motivated by “sheer greed.”
Sypher served most of her sentence at a minimum security prison in Aliceville, Ala., but was moved to an undisclosed halfway house early this year and placed on work release.
In a bid for release in 2016, she told Simpson in court papers that she had “exceptional remorse and contrition regarding her commission of her offenses," though she previously insisted she was innocent.
In a book she co-authored in 2012, she bitterly complained that Pitino was “"puffing away on his Cuban cigars and drinking his Bourbon" while she was eating “canned spinach" in prison.
And she said the government protected the coach by falsely portraying her as the "biggest prostitute in Louisville" who accomplished everything "on an office floor ... or restaurant table."
Reporter Andrew Wolfson can be reached at 502-582-7189 or email@example.com