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Once the FBI considered her an extortion suspect, Sypher twice called media outlets to accuse Pitino of rape before going to police, Ford said. The rape claim was made in retaliation for Pitino reporting the extortion attempt to the FBI, Ford said.

The star of the prosecution’s case was Pitino. He told jurors he had an “unfortunate” sexual encounter with Sypher and that he felt “sick to my stomach” when the extortion calls started Feb. 26, 2009. Pitino received two calls that day and a third a couple of days later.

“I could never rape a woman or be physically harmful to any woman at any time,” Pitino said.

Earhart told jurors Pitino wasn’t truthful about what happened and said the coach didn’t deny raping Sypher at a meeting with her on the day the extortion attempts started. Earhart said Pitino gave “one of the most moronic responses to a question” when the coach said he didn’t deny raping Sypher at the meeting because she knew it wasn’t true.

On the night of the sexual tryst, two restaurant patrons told jurors Sypher first approached Pitino, forcing her way into his circle of friends and that the two were hitting it off as the night went on. Pitino testified that the sexual encounter lasted 15 seconds.

About four weeks later, Sypher approached Pitino, saying she was pregnant and he was the father, which the coach denied.

Sypher said she had no health insurance, Pitino said, so he offered $3,000. He thought the money was for counseling and medical needs but Sypher later said she had an abortion, Pitino said.

Tim Sypher drove her to Cincinnati to have the abortion.

The two became romantically involved and married in April 2004. They are now divorced, but locked in a legal battle over custody of their 5-year-old daughter.

Three men have testified to having affairs with Sypher while she was married to Tim Sypher. Lester Goetzinger admitted making the extortion calls in exchange for sexual favors from Sypher. He reached a deal with prosecutors in exchange for his testimony.


Associated Press writer Will Graves contributed to this report.