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Allen Iverson denied taking part in a 2005 Washington nightclub brawl, testifying Monday that two men who sued him for $20 million in connection with the fight want to cash in on his basketball fame. The plaintiffs say Iverson's bodyguard and other members of his entourage attacked them when they wouldn't immediately make room for the NBA star in the VIP section of the Eyebar.
Iverson calls lawsuit a get-rich-quick scheme
By STEPHEN MANNING, Associated Press Writer
July 2, 2007
Denver Nuggets guard Allen Iverson leaves the U.S. District court in Washington, Monday, July 2, 2007. Iverson testified Monday that he didn't see his bodyguard fight with club-goers, saying he thought the $20 million lawsuit against him was just an attempt to fleece a famous basketball player.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Allen Iverson denied taking part in a 2005 Washington nightclub brawl, testifying Monday that two men who sued him for $20 million in connection with the fight want to cash in on his basketball fame.
The plaintiffs say Iverson's bodyguard and other members of his entourage attacked them when they wouldn't immediately make room for the NBA star in the VIP section of the Eyebar.
Iverson said in U.S. District Court he didn't see his bodyguard tangle with the two men. The Denver Nuggets guard said he stayed for about 20 minutes, saw a fight brewing and left immediately for his Bentley coupe parked out front.
"I think I'm here because I worked hard all my life to get where I'm at and they want to get rich overnight," Iverson said.
The 32-year-old player is accused of failing to properly supervise his bodyguard and others who were with him at the club on July 20, 2005.
Iverson, who starred at Georgetown and the Philadelphia 76ers before joining Denver in December 2006, was dressed in an oversized light blue jacket, baggy pants and white sneakers during his 1 1/2 hours on the stand.
Plaintiffs Marlin Godfrey and David Anthony Kittrell contend bodyguard Jason Kane and others beat them badly during the melee, including an attack with a bottle. Kittrell testified last week that Iverson witnessed the fight for about five minutes, grinning and jumping up on a couch to avoid getting hurt.
They accused Iverson and Kane of assault, infliction of emotional distress, negligence and conspiracy. On Monday, Judge Ellen Huvelle dropped some charges against Kane and limited the case against Iverson to negligence for failing to supervise his entourage.
Gregory Lattimer, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Godfrey had "his head busted open," sustained damage to his eyes and needed two years of psychological counseling.
"He went through all that because he knew one day he was going to sue you?" Lattimer asked Iverson. The player answered no.
Iverson gave some insight into his private life during his testimony. Security is a regular concern, whether to shield him and his wife from autograph seekers at dinner or protect him at large public events. His wife and manager often hire security for events, but Iverson said he has little input on how they do their job.
Kane, who Iverson said worked for such other stars as Paris Hilton and rapper 50 Cent, was frequently hired to protect Iverson. Kane often brought along friends, some allegedly taking part in the Eyebar fight.
Lattimer tried to prove those others were de facto members of Iverson's security. He showed the jury a copy of a 2005 episode of the MTV show "Punk'd" in which Terrance Williams, one of Kane's friends, handled personal security issues while a practical joke was played on Iverson. Williams allegedly was at the nightclub brawl, though he is not named in the lawsuit.
Lawyers for Iverson and Kane said in opening statements last week that Godfrey was drunk and started the fight by sucker punching Williams. Williams fought back, but Kane claims he was not part of the fight. Godfrey and Kittrell contend they were attacked when the refused to leave the VIP section.
Iverson faces another lawsuit for another nightclub fight involving his security in Hampton, Va. That happened less than two weeks before the Washington fight.
Iverson also was questioned about his short-lived career as a rapper under the name "Jewelz." Lyrics to Iverson's song "40 Bars" were leaked in 2000 before its release and were sharply criticized by NBA commissioner David Stern and some civil rights groups for derogatory language about gays and women. The album with "40 Bars" was never released.
Iverson said his rapping ended "when David Stern stopped me from being a rapper. Jewelz is gone. Jewelz died. His music died with him."