His Airness Sues to Halt 'Extortion'

10/24/2002 at 11:00 AM EDT

NBA superstar Michael Jordan filed a lawsuit in Chicago Wednesday against a woman he contends is trying to extort $5 million from him to keep quiet about their relationship from more than 10 years ago, the Associated Press reports.

Jordan, 39, admitted in the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court that he paid the woman, Karla Knafel, also 39, $250,000 to keep the relationship from being made public.

Air Jordan, who plays for the Washington Wizards but led the Chicago Bulls to six titles in the 1990s, never agreed to pay another dime above the original $250,000, the lawsuit says.

The New York Post describes Knafel as a show-business aspirant who appeared in the R-rated 1991 movie "Bikini Island." The paper also notes that it is not known whether Jordan's tryst with her occurred during his 13-year marriage to wife Juanita.

Knafel sought to extort the additional money from Jordan through her attorneys, according to the lawsuit, which gives her side 30 days to respond. Her lawyers were not named in the paperwork.

The suit asks the court to stop the woman from further attempts to procure money from Jordan.

Jordan's lawyer, Frederick Sperling, refused to say whether at any point he or his client asked the police to get involved. He also refused to answer questions about the nature of the relationship.

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