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Jordan's Ex-Lover Counters With $5 Million Lawsuit

Jordan Suit Calls For Court To Block Alleged Extortion

Updated: 7:01 p.m. EST November 19, 2002

The woman being sued by Michael Jordan for allegedly trying to extort $5 million in exchange for her silence over an affair is filing her own lawsuit in response.

Jordan filed the suit against Karla Knafel last month. The suit states that Knafel received $250,000 from Jordan during the relationship to keep the relationship quiet, and then, the suit claims, Knafel tried to extort another $5 million from him.

But Knafel, through her attorneys, said she was not seeking $5 million in an extortion attempt, but as part of an agreement she made with Jordan years ago.

Knafel's attorney, Michael Hannafan, said that Knafel admits that Jordan and she "carried on a sexual relationship from 1989 to 1991 and that it was he who pursued her."

Court documents say that Jordan told Knafel not to worry about his marriage, that he had a business arrangement with Juanita Jordan (his wife), that he considered her "hired help," and that his agent, David Falk, advised him to marry Juanita to maintain his favorable public image.

Hannafan said that Knafel and Jordan were actually in negotiations when he filed his lawsuit last month.

Hannafan then explained the sequence of events, according to Knafel.

Hannafan said Knafel got pregnant while she was involved with Michael Jordan and, at that time, both she and Jordan believed she was carrying his child.

Jordan first demanded that Knafel have an abortion, Hannafan said, but she refused. He then asked her to keep quiet about it, Hannafan said, and asked her not to file a paternity suit. Hannafan said Jordan told Knafel in the spring of 1991, that he would give her $5 million upon his retirement from professional basketball.

Jordan did give her $250,000, paid certain medical bills, and even sent Knafel roses at at hospital after she delivered her baby, Hannafan said.

But after finding out that it was not his baby, Jordan declined to pay her the rest of the $5 million the two had agreed to, Hannafan said.

The suit filed by Jordan last month asks the court to declare that Knafel's alleged demand for $5 million is "unenforceable" and asks for an injunction barring her from "any further efforts" to try to obtain the money.

Knafel's suit against Jordan claims it was not extortion but simply a request for Jordan to comply with an agreement he made with her at the time of her pregnancy.

A news release issued by Hannafan's law firm says Knafel's suit "seeks monetary damages from Jordan in the amount of $5 million plus interest as the result of his breach of contract."

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