Attorney unsure where Pitino extortion case headed

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) " The attorney for a woman under FBI investigation for an alleged extortion attempt against Louisville coach Rick Pitino says he's never been involved with such an unusual case.

Thomas Clay said Thursday the circumstances surrounding the investigation into Karen Sypher is unprecedented in his 35 years of practicing law, and he's not sure where it will go next.

"Things have taken a turn today that I did not anticipate," Clay said. "At this point the future course of this saga is very uncertain."

Clay would not specify what changed Thursday but said that he didn't expect the FBI investigation to be completed by Friday.

The details of Sypher's allegations against Pitino have not been revealed, but Sypher has talked to several media outlets while the investigation is ongoing.

Karen Sypher told The Associated Press on Monday that she just wants to clear the air.

"I'm standing up for my rights and feeling like I don't have a lot of them at this moment," she said Monday. "I'm just waiting for the truth to come out."

Clay said normal protocol while a client is under investigation is for the client to keep quiet until the process is completed.

Pitino filed a complaint with the FBI last month claiming he was the victim of extortion. The FBI confirmed it was looking into Pitino's complaint. Clay says Sypher, the wife of Louisville equipment manager Tim Sypher, is the target of the investigation.

Sypher did a lengthy interview with WDRB-TV in Louisville earlier this month, though the tape has yet to be aired because the station could not verify her claims.

WHAS-TV in Louisville said a woman who identified herself as Sypher called the station about two weeks ago but officials said they could not substantiate her allegations. Sypher also spoke at length to on Tuesday.

The Web site reported Thursday that Sypher said she was interviewed by the FBI for 4.5 hours while her son, 19-year-old Jacob Wise, and her estranged husband Tim Sypher were also interviewed. Karen Sypher, who said Clay quit as attorney on Tuesday, also said she was given a polygraph test which she failed.

Her mother, Judy Cunagin, told the Web site she wants to "kill" Pitino for what he's done to her family.

Clay would not comment on Karen Sypher's interview with but said he was still representing her. Sypher did not return several phone messages left by The Associated Press on Thursday.

A spokesman for the university said Pitino had no immediate comment. Pitino issued a statement last week in which he said he planned to "vigorously defend my reputation and the character of my family against any criminal scheme to extort money."


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