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Tuesday, Sep. 23, 2014

Pitino trial juror has Cherokee ties

Friday, August 13, 2010

The son of a former Larrabee resident recently served on a Federal Jury in the Karen Sypher extortion trial in Louisville, Ky.

Sypher, who demanded millions of dollars from the University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino to keep their 2003 tryst at a Louisville restaurant quiet, was found guilty on three counts of extortion, two counts of lying to the FBI, and one count of retaliating against a witness.

(Photo)
Brian Ross
Sypher, 50, faces a maximum sentence of 26 years in prison.

Brian Ross, the son of Tom and Shirley Ross of Vancouver, Wash., served on the Federal Jury that found Sypher guilty on all six counts she was charged with after trying to extort Pitino, who has admitted to the affair, alleging he was seduced by Sypher in the restaurant after hours.

Brian's mother Shirley is the former Shirley Wilkie of Larrabee, daughter of Lucille and the late Ross Wilkie. Brian is married to Cherokee native Natalie Jentz, daughter of Bill and Judy Jentz of Cherokee. Brian and Natalie live in Louisville.

Two days and a total of six hours of deliberations is what it took for the Federal Jury to unanumously decide its verdict.

"None of us said she's guilty of everything right right off the bat," juror Brian Ross said in an interview with WAVE TV in Louisville. "We just did it each charge by each charge."

Sypher did not testify during the trial.

In the end, Ross said the jury decision came down to the fact that "We had to do what was right by the law.

"I've heard a lot of testimony from her and I don't really know what she could have said (in trial) that was different," Ross said. "I don't think she would have come up with anything revolutionary."

During deliberations, Ross says the jury thought about those affected by the case.

"I have sympathy for everybody involved because this is a case that all around just stunk," said Ross. "I wanted to make sure I had no doubts and I could sleep good tonight."

When asked if he would, Ross said, "Yeah." He also hopes Sypher can get help.

"If she can come out of this a better person, that's all I care about," said Ross.

Sypher allegedly willingly had sex with an attorney who then initially contacted Pitino informing him of Sypher's demands for millions of dollars, a new car, and her childrens' college educations paid for.

Sypher remains free on her own recognizance and will be sentenced by a District Court Judge Oct. 27.



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