Thursday was the fourth day of the Karen Sypher extortion trial in Louisville, and it brought the cross-examination of Rick Pitino. We predicted yesterday that there would be some heated exchanges between Sypher’s defense attorney and the Louisville coach (not exactly going out on a limb, there), and that since he’s a master of preparation when it comes to coaching basketball, he’d be confident and ready to roll — or at least appear so — when it came time to talk about some harrowing and even downright embarrassing stuff, especially with an extra night to prep. Our information below comes from the summaries written by Louisville’s Courier-Journal and the point-to-point breakdown and analysis at Kentucky sports blog KentuckySportsRadio.com (KSR).
Pitino started the day on the stand and was done by noon, totaling six hours on the stand between today and yesterday. According to KSR, Pitino was an effective witness for the government/prosecution, though things did get a little testy between Pitino and Sypher’s defense attorney — who started his cross-examination by reading a quote from one of Pitino’s books (that’s cold!) — at a couple of junctures when the details of the fateful night at the Italian restaurant were discussed. It does not, however, sound like there was any particular incident that resulted in huge verbal volleys or anger above what one would expect. Pitino knows that he can’t allow it to appear as if the defense attorney is getting to him, and we’d expect that his skills at readying himself for opponents served him well. Still, a few items from today’s witnesses caught our attention.
First, there’s something we haven’t heard mentioned in any discussion, and that’s the fact that Pitino’s motivational speaking days are gone, and according to KSR he was pullin’ down anywhere between a grand to $40,000 per speech. You could even assume that figure would have climbed if Pitino claimed a national title or a couple more Final Fours, so there’s no telling how much income Pitino cost himself because of a few drinks at a bar and a grave mistake involving a woman who, in our eyes (as we rely on the reports of others), is coming off like she had an agenda all along. Mind you, all we’ve heard so far is the prosecution’s case.