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Michael Jordan lawsuit accuses woman of extortion

NBA superstar acknowledges previous 'relationship'

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan

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Complaint: Jordan v. Knafel  (FindLaw document, PDF)external link

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Attorneys for NBA superstar Michael Jordan filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing a woman of attempting to extort $5 million from him in exchange for keeping quiet about a relationship they had more than 10 years ago.

The lawsuit conceded the NBA superstar and the woman had a "relationship," but did not go into details. The suit also alleges that the woman was paid $250,000 by Jordan "under threat of publicly exposing the relationship."

The suit was filed by Jordan's attorneys against Karla Knafel in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, the city where Jordan became a legend with the Bulls, leading them to six NBA championships in the 1990s.

Jordan, 39, is seeking a "trial by jury on all issues," according to the suit.

In the suit, Jordan acknowledged he had a relationship with Knafel "a decade ago" and that he paid her a quarter of a million dollars not to disclose it.

"Under threat of publicly exposing that relationship, Ms. Knafel extorted Mr. Jordan into agreeing to pay and paying her $250,000," the suit states.

Since then, the suit claims, Knafel through her attorneys has "attempted to extort additional money from Mr. Jordan." The alleged extortion demands were made to one of Jordan's attorneys in Chicago.

"The extortion demands threatened to publicly expose the now decade old-relationship unless Mr. Jordan paid Ms. Knafel $5 million pursuant to a purported second agreement," the suit alleges.

The suit states that Jordan has not paid Knafel any additional money on top of the $250,000.

"Mr. Jordan requests that this court enter an order declaring that Ms. Knafel's demand that Mr. Jordan pay her an additional $5 million not to publicly expose their decade-old relationship is unenforceable, enjoining Ms. Knafel and any other persons acting on her behalf from engaging in any further efforts to extort money from Mr. Jordan, and granting Mr. Jordan such other and further relief as this court deems just and proper," the suit says.

Knafel and her attorneys were not immediately available for comment.

Jordan attorney Frederick Sperling said the suit speaks for itself: "The complaint says everything Michael Jordan has to say."

In January of this year, Jordan's wife, Juanita Jordan, filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences" and seeking custody of their three children. A month later, she withdrew the filing.

The couple has been married for 13 years.

Jordan, a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, currently plays for the Washington Wizards. During his 14 seasons in the NBA, Jordan has averaged 31 points per game, 6.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He has been named to the All-Star team 13 times.

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