A federal jury began deliberations yesterday in a $20 million lawsuit against former Georgetown University basketball star Allen Iverson over a 2005 nightclub fight that two patrons say was sparked by Iverson's entourage.
The Denver Nuggets player has testified that he had no role in the brawl.
An attorney for the men suing Iverson and his bodyguard said in closing arguments yesterday that Iverson "has demonstrated" little concern about the case against him. He noted that Iverson appeared in court only on 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."
Marlin Godfrey and David Anthony Kittrell said 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 Northwest. Iverson, 32, testified that he didn't see the fight.
Mr. Godfrey and Mr. Kittrell say the bodyguard, Jason Kane, and Terrance Williams assaulted them. They said Mr. Williams, a friend of Mr. Kane's, was acting on Iverson's behalf.
Mr. Godfrey was badly beaten during the melee, suffering head and other injuries. Mr. 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 Mr. Kane and Mr. Williams — but it does not say he took part in the fight. The suit also accuses Mr. Kane of assault and battery because Mr. Godfrey was reportedly beaten with items that include a bottle.
Iverson said Monday that the suit was a get-rich-quick scheme by the two men, who targeted him because of his wealth and fame. Mr. Kane testified that he wasn't involved in the fight and hustled Iverson out of the club when a brawl appeared imminent.
Iverson's attorney, Alan Milstein, told jurors yesterday that Mr. Kittrell and Mr. Godfrey lied about details of the fight and who instigated it.
Iverson had no role in the melee, and wasn't responsible for Mr. Williams, who was not working for him, Mr. Milstein said. He echoed Iverson's assertion 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," Mr. Milstein said.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours yesterday before recessing for the day. Deliberations were to resume this morning.
Iverson faces another lawsuit involving another nightclub fight involving his security personnel in Hampton, Va. That happened less than two weeks before the D.C. fight.