- Associated Press - Friday, July 30, 2010

LOUISVILLE, KY. (AP) - Rick Pitino never said a woman who claimed the Louisville basketball coach got her pregnant after a one-night stand had to get an abortion but did advise she “go out of town” to get medical care, his longtime aide told a jury Friday.

The aide, Tim Sypher, was testifying against the woman, his ex-wife Karen Cunagin Sypher. He testified about helping her get an abortion at her extortion trial. The two divorced after she was indicted last year on charges of demanding cash and gifts worth millions from Pitino to keep secret their 2003 tryst on a restaurant table.

Tim Sypher, 49, testified that he called clinics in Indiana and Ohio before taking the woman, then known as Karen Wise, to Cincinnati, where she terminated the pregnancy on Aug. 29, 2003. Tim Sypher said he paid for the procedure from $3,000 Pitino gave to Karen Sypher for medical care.

“I just figured it was a good thing to do, go out of town,” Tim Sypher said. “Yeah, he (Pitino) said go out of town.”

Pitino, married and Roman Catholic, has said he intended for the money to be used for medical insurance, not an abortion. The Roman Catholic Church is opposed to abortion.

Karen Sypher, 50, has pleaded not guilty. After she was indicted, she told police Pitino raped her, but authorities didn’t pursue charges.

Tim Sypher, who has worked for Pitino in various capacities since 1996, told jurors the coach called him on Aug. 23, 2003, and asked to use his condo to meet with a woman about a “supposed pregnancy.” That meeting took place just less than a month after Pitino and Sypher had sex after hours at Porcini, an Italian restaurant where they met a few hours earlier.

As Pitino and Sypher met downstairs, Tim Sypher said, he waited for about an hour in an upstairs bedroom.

“In a situation like that, you know, I just wanted the day over with,” Tim Sypher said. “I heard nothing.”

Defense attorney James Earhart asked Tim Sypher why Pitino called him, then a single 43-year-old, to take care of a pregnant woman.

“This is a situation that is potentially devastating to Rick Pitino, let’s be honest,” Earhart said. “This doesn’t need to come out.”

“True,” Tim Sypher said. “… If he hadn’t asked me, who then?”

Six days after the meeting at the condo, Tim Sypher drove Karen Sypher to a women’s clinic in Cincinnati, where she had an abortion. Jurors saw records from the clinic on Thursday indicating she was about 5 weeks pregnant. As Karen came out of the clinic, Tim Sypher said he extended his hand, prompting “a look I’ll never forget.”

“Sir, I’m not lying to you. We hit it off. It was quick,” Tim Sypher testified. “I’m not lying to you, I’m not lying to anybody here. We clicked.”

Once back in Louisville, Karen Sypher asked if she could see Tim Sypher again. The two began dating and were married less than a year later. Over the next five years, Karen Sypher attended functions around Pitino without problems, Tim Sypher said.

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