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Last-minute legal move in Sypher sentence

March 30, 2011 at 8:00 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky., March 30 (UPI) -- A woman convicted of attempting to extort money from University of Louisville basketball Coach Rick Pitino filed a motion for a new trial, court documents show.

Karen Cunagin Sypher, sentenced in February to seven years and three months in prison for attempting to extort money and gifts from Pitino and lying to the FBI, was ordered to report to prison a week from Wednesday, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal reported.

In their filing for a new trial, Sypher's legal team says a man describing himself as a "very close" friend of hers made a threatening call to Pitino -- and Sypher didn't know about it.

Sypher's lawyer, David Nolan, says Tom Gaebler, who met Sypher in 2007, came forward March 22 and said he left a message on Pitino's cellphone threatening to go to the media with Sypher's claim that Pitino raped her six years earlier.

Pitino acknowledged having sex once with Sypher at a Louisville restaurant but said it was consensual.

Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel ruled the rape allegations were without merit.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn said he would have no immediate comment on the claims in the motion, the Courier-Journal reported.

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