June 14, 2001 06:01pm
Raptors' Davis Files Defamation Lawsuit
(NEW YORK, NY) -- Toronto Raptors basketball star Antonio Davis filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit on Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court against a key witness in a sensational Atlanta strip club trial.
The suit claims the witness, Thomas ``Ziggy'' Sicignano defamed and slandered Davis when he testified that the ball player had sex with a stripper in 1997.
The suit claims the Sicignano's testimony last week in the racketeering trial of Gold Club owner Steve Kaplan was malicious and intended to convey...that (Davis) was a man of questionable moral character and an unworthy role model.
Sicignano testified that Davis asked Kaplan in 1997 to send two strippers to his hotel room and that one of the girls said she had sex with Davis.
Davis, who is married, played for the Indiana Pacers at the time.
Davis denied the charges in court papers, which say the allegations are wholly false and subjected (Davis) to ridicule, caused him to be shunned and avoided, and injured him within professional sports and within the general population of the United States.
Sicignano' testimony came as Davis was a free agent trying to negotiate new contract, the suit charges.
``There were no sexual favors, there were no leather jackets, there was none of that,'' Davis said on Fox Sports Net on Tuesday. ``I'm not going to stand by and just let this guy say what he wants to say, knowing that it's false.''
Sicignano could not be reached for comment.
Kaplan and six others are charged with racketeering and other crimes for allegedly luring sports stars to the upscale nightclub with offers of sex.
Kaplan and others were allegedly paying off Gambino crime family members with some of the profits.
The trial, in its second month, is expected to last into the autumn and will include Patrick Ewing, John Starks and Terrell Davis as witnesses.