FBI probes ex-wife of UL worker

Published 12:34 am Monday, April 20, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The FBI is investigating the estranged wife of Louisville’s equipment manager regarding extortion allegations leveled by coach Rick Pitino, her attorney said Sunday.

Attorney Thomas Clay said he spoke with the FBI about the matter last week but had no further comment. He represents Karen Sypher, the wife of longtime equipment manager Tim Sypher.

Clay acknowleged Karen Sypher was contacted by the FBI after Pitino filed a complaint last month that he was being targeted for extortion.

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‘‘I can’t be more specific than they talked to her,’’ Clay said. ‘‘Yes, there could be a criminal prosecution.’’

FBI spokesman David Beyer confirmed there was an ongoing investigation into Pitino’s complaint and that no other law enforcement agencies were involved. Beyer did not name the target of the investigation.

Pitino said in a statement Saturday night that he planned to keep the matter private but was forced into action when the individual — whom he did not name — decided to go to the media. The statement did not detail the nature of the threats.

‘‘I recently learned that the individual behind this extortion attempt has already gone to the media with false, defamatory and outrageous allegations in an attempt to pressure me to cave in to this scheme,’’ Pitino said.