WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal jury began Wednesday hearing a $20 million lawsuit against Allen Iverson, who is accused of assaulting two men in a bar fight.
Marlin Godfrey and David Anthony Kittrell sued Iverson, saying the Denver Nuggets guard stood by as his entourage beat them and at one point even joined in by hitting someone with a bottle. They accuse Iverson and co-defendant Jason Kane of assault, infliction of emotional distress, negligence and conspiracy and are seeking $20 million in damages.
Defense lawyers say Godfrey was drunk and picked a fight and that neither Iverson nor Kane was actually involved in on July 20, 2005. They accuse Godfrey and Kittrell of targeting Iverson because of his wealth.
In his opening statement Wednesday, plaintiffs' lawyer Gregory L. Lattimer told jurors that when his clients declined to leave the VIP section of Washington's Eyebar, Kane and another bodyguard, delivered a ``viscous, doglike beating,'' kicking and stomping on Godfrey. He said Kittrell was later attacked as well.
``The defense is going to try to tell you this is just about a barroom brawl. But it's not,'' Lattimer said. ``What happened here is a result of a way of life. The responsibility for that way of life, the responsibility for these beatings'' belongs to Iverson.
Iverson was not in court Wednesday, and Lattimer repeatedly patted the empty chair at the defense table for emphasis as he talked about the former Georgetown star.
Iverson is expected in court next week to testify.
Iverson's lawyer, Alan C. Milstein, opted to save his opening statement for when the defense begins presenting its case, but Kane's lawyer, Billy Martin, delivered a response to Lattimer.
``What's this case really about? Greed,'' he said. ``They picked this fight and they lost the fight. But the fight was not with Jason Kane or with Allen Iverson.''
Martin said the fight started when Godfrey, a third-degree black belt in karate, sucker-punched Terrance Williams, a freelance bodyguard who sometimes works with Kane. He said Williams then fought back.
Martin said Williams was not working for Iverson and Kane that night and was at the bar on his own, a claim Lattimer disputes.
Martin denied that anyone associated with Iverson told Godfrey and Kittrell to leave. He said it was the Eyebar's owner who asked them to make room for the star because it was good for business.
``People come from miles around to hang out and party with a celebrity,'' Martin said.
A similar lawsuit against Iverson was filed last year over an alleged assault by his security team at a Hampton, Va., nightclub. That incident occurred less than two weeks before the one in Washington.

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Rockets vs. Clippers Pick Are the Los Angeles Clippers going to win a fifth straight game tonight when they host the Houston Rockets at...
Thumbnail Pacers vs. Jazz Pick  Will the scoreboard be lit up tonight when the Indiana Pacers play at the Utah Jazz?...
Thumbnail Kings vs. Thunder Pick Are the host Oklahoma City Thunder going to win by double digits tonight when they battle the Sacramento Kings at...
Thumbnail Warriors vs. Cavaliers Pick Are the Golden State Warriors going to win for the second time this season against the host Cleveland Cavaliers tonight when the...
Thumbnail Lakers vs. Grizzlies Pick Will the Los Angeles Lakers get it done as a small road underdog today when they play at the Memphis Grizzlies? Game time is 5:30PM...

NBA Team Pages