Ewing testifies at Gold Club trial
NBA star describes two sexual encounters with dancers
Updated: Monday July 23, 2001 3:13 PM
ATLANTA (AP) -- Patrick Ewing testified Monday that he was twice provided with sexual favors at the Gold Club while the owner and a former manager watched.
Ewing, who signed with the Orlando Magic last week, said he had visited the Atlanta strip club about 10 times, and was given special attention when owner Steve Kaplan and former manager Thomas "Ziggy" Sicignano were present.
Ewing said he first visited the club in 1996 when he was in Atlanta for the Olympics. He was escorted to a VIP room and Kaplan -- a fan of Ewing's former team, the New York Knicks -- and Sicignano came in to meet him.
"The girls danced, started fondling me, I got aroused, they performed oral sex," Ewing said. "I hung around a little bit and talked to them, then I left."
Ewing said he did not pay for the sex or anything else at the club.
"I was told it was taken care of," Ewing said. Under cross-examination by Kaplan's attorney, Steve Sadow, Ewing testified that he never felt that he was involved in an act of prostitution.
Prosecutors say Kaplan used the lure of sex to attract professional athletes and celebrities while cheating customers to funnel cash to New York's Gambino crime family. He and six others are charged with obstruction of justice, credit card fraud, loan sharking and other charges. The trial began with jury selection in late April.
Sicignano testified against Kaplan and the others as part of a plea agreement.
Ewing said his second Gold Club sexual encounter was in 1997 or 1998. He said either Kaplan or Sicignano told the women to "go ahead and take care of him." The 7-foot center said the two sat beside him while the dancers performed oral sex on him.
Ewing said the men also offered to have a dancer accompany him to his hotel for sex, but he declined.
He testified for about 25 minutes and then immediately left the courthouse.
The second time he went to the club, Ewing said he was with his former Knicks teammates, including Larry Johnson, John Starks and Charles Oakley. He did not testify about any other players having sex with dancers.