With any sort of scandal, we're often stuck sorting through a mess of he-said-she-said allegations in the media, pulling information from tabloids, blogs, newspapers, and anyone else that talks, then trying to make sense of it ourselves. It's a hall of mirrors filled with truth, lies, and very little morality.
But you know what solves that? A court room. There, you only have two sides, everything's on the record, and we can decide. Err... A court can decide. But we can enjoy the theater!
Enter the Rick Pitino-Karen Sypher trial, which held opening arguments on Monday morning.
Sypher, you'll remember, is the woman who had an affair with the Louisville head coach, had an abortion that Pitino paid for, allegedly tried to blackmail Pitino, and later, after being charged with felony blackmail, claimed that Pitino tried to rape her.
This will be good.
First, the United States Government's case against Sypher:
1. So we begin here. "On July 31, 2003, Rick Pitino and Karen Sypher have sex in Porcini’s after meeting for the first time in the restaurant."
This account neglects to add, "had sex on a table," as reported, but perhaps that was implied. They were hooking up in an Italian Restaurant. Obviously it happened on a table.
2. "Soon thereafter, Sypher realizes she is pregnant and on August 21, signs a paper at a Women’s Clinic saying she wants to have an abortion."
Pitino would later give her money that she would spend on said abortion. Pitino claims the money was for health insurance, Sypher claims... Well, we'll get there.
3. "Fast forward to February 26, 2009. Tim and Karen Sypher have separated and Lester Goetzinger, a Sypher friend calls and leaves two messages on Rick Pitino’s cell phone. The US Attorney says the calls came after Sypher gave Lester oral sex. Both were played in court and both suggested he knew what had happened six years prior and Rick needed to make it right with Sypher."
Note: she allegedly had sex with Pitino, extorted him, then performed sexual favors on another man, who extorted Pitino for more. An aggressive business plan, but let's face it: the market for sexual favors is generally strong. It's a low-risk investment for both sides. At least until one party tries to diversify, adding blackmail to the portfolio.
4. "March 6, 2009 a letter is delivered from Tim Sypher to Rick Pitino in the hotel right before Louisville is to play West Virginia for the Big East regular season title. In it, Sypher demands college for all her kids, two cars, a house, $3,000 a month for food and bills and $75,000 when Rick leaves Louisville. In exchange, she will keep his name clean."
Could the defense please play Rick Pitino's pregame peptalk for the court? Can we find a way to make that relevant?
5. March 22, 2009, Sypher has oral sex with her lawyer Dana Kolter and he agrees to help her with her situation. Rick Pitino also gives $10,000 to Tim Sypher for Karen out of his bonus he was given for winning the Big East Tournament. The money is to buy Karen’s son a car.
For fans scoring this one, that would be the second "business arrangement" on Ms. Sypher's part. Okay, now time for a deep breath.
Now, Ms. Sypher's side of the story.
6. ...she was noticed by Rick Pitino, who invited her to sit with him at his private table. He offered her wine and she sat there with the group for a long period of time. As the place began to clear out, the owner gave Pitino the keys and asked him to “lock up when you are done.” Sypher claims she was then raped on a table in Porcini’s.
Okay, so there's nothing funny about alleged rape.
7. She claims that she is then told that if an abortion doesn't happen, it will be like “concrete in a river.”
There's definitely something funny about that. What, exactly, was going to be like concrete in a river? Sypher? The baby? And who talks like that? Did he also use the word "sheister"?
8. Pitino then asks Sypher what he can give her to make this all go away and help her. She then writes the letter with the list of things that she needs…which she claims is the letter shown by the prosecution.
Little did Rick know that he was going to be putting each of her kids through college, buying a house, two cars, and paying an additional $36,000-a-year. Must have been quite the letter.
9. She meets with Dana Kolter, who suggests that they sue Pitino for 10 million dollars.
Was this before or after Dana Kolter allegedly received oral sex? Or during? "How much should we sue for?" "Uhhh... 10 dollars. 10 dollars. No, 10 million dollars. 10 million dollars!!!!!!"
10. She meets with several members of the Louisville men's basketball team. Days later, the players demand one million dollars each from their coach, $500,000 of which was to go to Ms. Sypher.
...Okay, that last-one was made up. But it's not that far-fetched, is it? God. I feel like I need to take a shower after all this. This case is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in Porcini's table cloth, demanding 10 million dollars and our complete, undivided attention.
Be sure to read Matt's full notes here. Unreal.