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Trials & Litigation

6th Circuit Rejects Sentence Delay for Woman Convicted in Rick Pitino Extortion Attempt

Posted Feb 14, 2011 2:01 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected an effort to force the recusal of a federal judge who presided over the attempted extortion trial of a woman who sought to obtain millions from University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino in exchange for her silence about what she called a rape and others characterized as a one-night stand.

Karen Cunagin Sypher will be sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III, as scheduled for her crime against Pitino, the appeals court ruled in a brief opinion today, rejecting as well an attempt to win a sentencing delay, the Associated Press reported.

Her new lawyer, David Nolan, had contended in his appellate motion that Simpson presided over a "rigged trial” and had investments that called his impartiality into question. The filing also contended that “the underlying case has revealed a substantial conspiracy to subvert justice which will create additional conflicts of interest of the trial court,” reports an earlier Louisville Courier-Journal article.

Prosecutors said, in response to the motion, that “the only thing unusual about the case, aside from the fact that ... Pitino is the victim of Sypher’s crimes, is the extremes to which Sypher has gone to avoid the consequences of her criminal conviction,” reports another Courier-Journal article.

Sypher plans to take her case to the court of public opinion tonight in a 6 p.m. broadcast from a Whitley City, Ky., radio station, reports WLKY. Another WLKY page provides links to archived coverage.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Sypher Convicted in Rick Pitino Extortion After Her Divorce Lawyer Testifies Against Her"

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