Earlier today, the jury in the Karen Sypher extortion case found her guilty on all six counts with which she was charged by the government. From KSR:
- Three counts of extortion,
- Two counts of lying to the FBI, and
- One count of retaliating against a witness.
By our tally, that can result in up to 26 years in the hoosegow and $1.5 million in fines. The sentence will be handed down within the next two months.
A couple of quick thoughts, here. You may recall that Sypher’s defense team did not bother to call any witnesses as part of their case. This can only mean that her attorneys felt confident enough in the failure of the prosecution to get over that “reasonable doubt” threshold they’re required to achieve. After an across-the-board guilty verdict, though, you certainly have to wonder about the radar and the handicapping abilities of that defense team. Not only will she not be taking them on any trips out to Churchill Downs any time soon, but it’s conceivable that she could accuse them of ineffective assistance of counsel, a form of legal malpractice, and appeal this verdict. This tactic rarely works, however, because even if your defense calls no witnesses at a trial where you’re found guilty, proving your counsel was incompetent is a very hard thing to do. You’d pretty much have to have an attorney like the lawyer who went nuts and stripped naked during the deposition in the movie Michael Clayton to make that stick.