Two surprise witnesses with shocking testimony in the Karen Sypher extortion trial


by Adrianna Hopkins

Posted on August 2, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 4 at 9:06 AM

It was a stunner: Tyree Fields came out of nowhere. A completely new character in the saga of the Karen Sypher extortion trial. But Karen Sypher knows him, he's the fifth witness to testify he'd had sex with her.
And according to him, she confided in him.

Fields testified he met Sypher at a mall and gave her his business card. Soon after the two began a sexual relationship that lasted from 2008 to 2009.

He says whenever he visited Louisville the two would hook up. But in 2009, when Pitino went to federal authorities about Sypher's alleged extortion attempt, Fields says he read all the media reports and the two met in a church parking lot in St. Matthews.

He told her he wasn't with the FBI, he wasn't going to turn her in, but he wanted to know what was up.

Fields testified that Sypher had this comment:
"Her response to me was I was stupid. I shouldn't have done it, I know."

Defense attorney, James Earhart, asked Fields how he became a witness for the prosecution. Fields says an FBI agent and one of Pitino's assistant coaches, Steve Masiello, approached him around the same time. But Fields says he has a peripheral connection to Rick Pitino -- at one point Fields was a high school basketball scout and knew some of Pitino's assistant coaches. He and Pitino met once, but Fields says that was the extent of their relationship.

Sypher's ex-husband, Randy Wise, also took the stand. He told jurors Sypher first told him about approaching Pitino in March 2009 and claimed Pitino made her an offer.

He said Sypher told him:
"'I'm trying to take care of the boys. I've got something on Rick Pitino. He's offered me $100,000. I want half a million.' I said, 'I don't want to hear about it.'"

And he told jurors that once he found out prosecutors offered Sypher a plea deal in the summer of 2009 to avoid a trial, he told her to take and think about their four kids.

"I told her to take the deal. She said, 'if I'm going down, I'm taking Pitino with me.'"

Here are some of the other key moments in today's case. Karen Sypher's former attorney Dana Kolter was cross-examined, and broke down in tears several times. He admitted writing a letter to Pitino that accused him of raping Sypher, and asked Pitino for $10 million.

Prosecutors played video from a WHAS 11 newscast of Sypher going to LMPD's Sex Crimes Unit and our Melanie Kahn testified that Sypher called the night before to let us know she would be there.

And sex crimes detective Mona Sullivan testified it was the first time she had ever seen someone come to report a rape allegation with a TV crew there.