Deliberations begin in lawsuit against Nuggets' Iverson
WASHINGTON -- A federal jury began deliberations Thursday in a $20 million lawsuit against Denver Nuggets guard Allen Iverson over a 2005 nightclub fight, a brawl two men say was sparked by Iverson's entourage but which the NBA player testified he had no role in.
A lawyer for the men suing Iverson and his bodyguard said in closing arguments Thursday that Iverson has demonstrated little concern about the case against him. He noted that Iverson only appeared in court Monday to testify for about two hours in a trial that is now into its second week.
"He doesn't respect the court. He ain't here," attorney Gregory Lattimer told the U.S. District Court jury, motioning toward an empty chair next to Iverson's lawyer at the defense table. "He doesn't respect anything that isn't Allen Iverson."
Jurors deliberated for about two hours Thursday before recessing for the day. Deliberations were set to resume Friday morning.
Marlin Godfrey and David Anthony Kittrell say the fight was started by Iverson's bodyguard and entourage when the pair refused to vacate a VIP section for Iverson at the Eyebar nightclub in Washington. Iverson, 32, testified that he didn't see the fight.
He doesn't respect the court. He ain't here. He doesn't respect anything that isn't Allen Iverson.
Attorney Gregory Lattimer
Godfrey and Kittrell claim the bodyguard, Jason Kane, assaulted them along with Terrance Williams, Kane's friend who they allege was acting on Iverson's behalf. Godfrey was badly beaten during the melee, suffering head and other injuries. Lattimer said he suffered depression and other long-term health problems from the incident.
The lawsuit says Iverson is responsible for the brawl because he failed to properly supervise Kane and Williams but does not claim he took part in the fight. It also accuses Kane of assault and battery for allegedly beating Godfrey with items that include a bottle.
Iverson said Monday the suit was a get-rich-quick scheme by the two men, who targeted him because of his wealth and fame. Kane testified he wasn't involved in the fight and hustled Iverson out of the club when a brawl appeared imminent.
Iverson's lawyer, Alan Milstein, told jurors Thursday that Kittrell and Godfrey lied about details of the fight and who instigated it.
Iverson had no role in the melee, and wasn't responsible for Williams, who was not working for him, Milstein said. He echoed Iverson's claim that the case was an attempt to fleece the wealthy NBA star.
"The only reason Mr. Iverson is sued is because he's got the money. This whole case is about who's got it and how do we get it," Milstein said.
Iverson faces another lawsuit for another nightclub fight involving his security in Hampton, Va. That happened less than two weeks before the Washington fight.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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