Pitino interviewed over woman’s complaints

Published 1:03 am Tuesday, July 14, 2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Police have interviewed Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino about allegations brought by a woman charged with trying to extort him, his lawyer said Monday.

Attorney Steve Pence said Pitino has been cooperating in the investigation and that the allegations are false. The woman, Karen Cunagin Sypher, has pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of trying to extort money from Pitino and lying to the FBI.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel said the Louisville police sex-offense unit contacted him last week to tell him Cunagin Sypher had made a complaint and that it was turning the matter over to Stengel after the investigation is complete, probably this week.

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Louisville police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said police have spoken with the woman but wouldn’t comment further.

Authorities have not said what information Cunagin Sypher might have been trying to use to allegedly extort Pitino. They have said the coach believed the matter was related to an unspecified 2003 encounter with her.